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Friday, August 07, 2020, 22:38
Leung: Disqualified lawmakers not suitable in interim LegCo
By Gang Wen
Friday, August 07, 2020, 22:38 By Gang Wen

Incumbent Legislative Council (LegCo) members who were disqualified from running in the now-postponed election should not be allowed to serve in a provisional LegCo that would be in place during the year-long period until an election is held, according to the vice chairman of the nation’s top political advisory body. 

Leung Chun-ying, vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said the incumbent LegCo members who were disqualified are not qualified to serve in the provisional LegCo.

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There have been suggestions to give special consideration to “dovish” opposition members among the disqualified. Leung disagreed, arguing that there is nothing “dovish” in begging foreign powers to sanction Hong Kong

“They are being disqualified because they are not qualified to be members of the Legislative Council,” Leung said in an interview with Chinese-language newspaper Wen Wei Po.

Therefore, they must not be allowed to continue as members in the provisional council in the next 12 months, irrespective of how members are chosen, said Leung. These people simply aren’t qualified, the former Hong Kong chief executive added.

Of 12 would-be candidates whose nominations were invalidated by the city’s returning officers from the Electoral Affairs Commission, four are serving LegCo members. 

All 12 were disqualified from running in the election, which had been scheduled for Sept 6, after they were deemed uncommitted in upholding the Basic Law or for being disloyal to Hong Kong by lobbying foreign governments to impose sanctions on Hong Kong. The election was postponed for one year due to a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the city. 

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Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has said she sought advice from the central government about how to deal with the one-year interim period before elections are held. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress – China’s top legislature – is expected to make a decision on the issue.

There have been suggestions to give special consideration to “dovish” opposition members among the disqualified. Leung disagreed, arguing that there is nothing “dovish” in begging foreign powers to sanction Hong Kong.

Leung emphasized that no society under any political system would allow members of its parliament to request foreign powers to sanction their own government.

Disqualifying them from election is the mildest form of rebuke, Leung said. In many other societies, their actions may have been considered a criminal offense liable to prosecution, he said.

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Leung reiterated that postponing the election for a new LegCo was the right decision in view of the severity of the third wave of COVID-19 infections. The opposition parties can call it whatever they want, he said. What people should think about is whether to subject public health to extreme risk by calling millions of people out to vote.

The answer is obvious. It’s too much of a public health risk, he said.

Former police commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung voiced a similar sentiment in an interview with China Daily on Wednesday.

“It defies logic that the disqualified legislators would be allowed to carry on merely because they are incumbent legislators, regardless of the fact that they do not qualify under the requirements of the Basic Law,” he said.

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Hong Kong lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said in a television interview on Aug 4 that incumbent lawmakers who were disqualified should not be allowed to handle LegCo affairs in the interim period as they do not uphold the Basic Law. 

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