Hong Kong chief faces calls to quit after Legco polls

Chief Executive Leung said he thinks the election results "have nothing to do with the chances of anyone who aspires to be the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong". Supporters of Mr Nathan Law putting up flags in Causeway Bay following Mr Law's win in
Chief Executive Leung said he thinks the election results "have nothing to do with the chances of anyone who aspires to be the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong".PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Chief Executive Leung said he thinks the election results "have nothing to do with the chances of anyone who aspires to be the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong". Supporters of Mr Nathan Law putting up flags in Causeway Bay following Mr Law's win in
Supporters of Mr Nathan Law putting up flags in Causeway Bay following Mr Law's win in the Legislative Council election on Monday. Mr Law put up a post on Facebook calling for Mr Leung's resignation, naming candidates who supported him and who were not elected.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Some newly elected lawmakers claim that results show voters' unhappiness with him

Some newly elected legislators have started calling for the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive, even before they are sworn in as members of the Legislative Council (Legco) next month.

At a press conference yesterday, a day after the poll results were released, Civic Party's chairman Alan Leong said the results have clearly shown Hong Kongers' unhappiness with Mr Leung Chun Ying, by voting in people who oppose him. He then urged Beijing to respond to Hong Kongers' choices and remove Mr Leung as soon as possible.

If Mr Leung still wants to seek a second term, then "he is really shameless", added Mr Leong, 58.

Sunday's polls, which saw several young, anti-China radical activists elected into the city's legislature, were the first major elections after the 2014 Occupy Central protests that called for greater autonomy and universal suffrage for the city.

The pro-Beijing camp won only 40 seats in the 70-seat council, three fewer than in 2012.

 

Without the two-thirds majority it had hoped for and with even fewer seats than before, it will find it even more difficult to defend the government's policies.

Professor Lau Siu Kai, chairman of a Beijing-backed think-tank, said the new, radical lawmakers will be tough to deal with and the pro-Beijing camp will need to find a way to push through policies by working with the pan-democrats.

In particular, Beijing will not want to make concessions on issues of independence for Hong Kong while analysts are predicting that the young localist lawmakers will try to move a motion on "self-determination" after they are sworn in on Oct 1. The pro-Beijing camp would need to cooperate with the more moderate pan-democrats on this.

"Beijing would want to safeguard its interest and it will be willing to cooperate with the moderate pan- democrats to improve the political situation," said Prof Lau.

He said Beijing's change in attitude towards the pan-democrats - with which it had a strained relationship - was clear during senior Beijing leader Zhang Dejiang's visit to Hong Kong earlier this year, when he hosted four pan-democratic party leaders to a reception.

The Beijing government on Monday had warned the newly elected lawmakers against advocating independence for Hong Kong.

However, noting that the localist and pro-independence movements grew out of a feeling of powerlessness that arose from "the absence of full universal suffrage and the ability to vote out officials", former chief secretary Anson Chan last week warned that such sentiments will only grow as the government attempted to stamp them out.

She said the Chief Executive needs to grab the opportunity of a new Legislative Council term to build "more trust and cooperation" with all lawmakers, regardless of their political affiliations.

Yesterday, after a thank you parade at New Territories East, Youngspiration's Sixtus Leung said he will lead a discussion on Hong Kong's independence in Legco.

Demosisto's Nathan Law, who won a seat in Hong Kong Island, posted on Facebook calling for Mr Leung's resignation.

But at a media session yesterday, the Chief Executive said he thinks the election results "have nothing to do with the chances of anyone who aspires to be the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'HK chief faces calls to quit after Legco polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe