China’s top legislature extends HK LegCo for at least one year

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/11 18:48:40

HK LegCo File photo:VCG

The National People's Congress Standing Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to extend the sixth Legislative Council (LegCo) lawmakers' term of office by at least one year until the term of office of the new LegCo begins, in case the coronavirus outbreak could not be fully contained within one year, an NPC standing committee member said on Tuesday. 

Whether the Hong Kong lawmaker candidates disqualified from running in the next LegCo election could stay in the legislature is the HKSAR government's decision, Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong's delegate to the NPC Standing Committee, told the Global Times on Tuesday after the vote.

Handling the vacuum period in LegCo following the postponed election amid the resurgence in Hong Kong of the COVID-19 has attracted public attention, which took center-stage at the four-day meeting of the NPC Standing Committee, which ended on Tuesday. 

The NPC meeting decided that the term of the current LegCo should be extended by at least one year, because of concerns that there might be another resurgence of the outbreak which would impede the voting process, Tam said. "At that time, there won't need to go through the NPC procedure, as the current LegCo continues to perform its duties until the beginning of the seventh term of the LegCo," he noted. 

On whether the four disqualified lawmaker candidatescould serve the extended term, Tam noted that the NPC Standing Committee decided to handle questions raised by the HKSAR government, not by others. "Other questions were left for the HKSAR government to handle in accordance with the law," he said. 

Online debates focused on whether the extended terms of office would violate the Basic Law, as it stipulates each lawmaker serve four years. Tam noted that the NPC Standing Committee has the right to supplement the law in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, and to deal with problems arising from abnormal circumstances, which won't violated the Basic Law. 

It also states that the term of the seventh LegCo is four years, which won't change the relevant regulations of the Basic Law. 


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