HK LegCo functions more efficiently without opposition lawmakers, president says; all patriots welcome in upcoming elections
Published: Oct 28, 2021 07:08 PM
Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, president of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, meets media on Tuesday after China's top legislature decided to extend LegCo for one year. Photo: cnsphoto

Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, president of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, meets media on Tuesday after China's top legislature decided to extend LegCo for one year. Photo: cnsphoto

Hong Kong's legislature has functioned much more efficiently after the resignation of some opposition lawmakers, President of the Hong Kong Legislation Council (LegCo) said on Thursday. Experts have pointed out that opposition lawmakers are still welcome in the upcoming election as long as they are patriots.

Reporting on LegCo's work over the past year on Thursday's annual wrap-up news conference, Leung noted that the lawmakers had passed 46 government bills, more than double the bills from the year before and the highest in the past 20 years. 

"With the national security law in force, the government can focus more on the livelihood and economic issues," said Leung. "Therefore, they can easily introduce more bills."

Leung said the LegCo has been working more efficiently after the national security law for Hong Kong took effect in 2020, and the mass resignation of opposition lawmakers put an end to chaos and filibustering in the council.

A total of 16 former lawmakers resigned from the LegCo after the national security law was implemented, including 15 non pro-establishment members. There have been vacancies since the beginning of this session, the first time since the establishment of the LegCo. 

The public is happy to see that the national security law has helped the legislature return to sanity. No members have been ordered to withdraw immediately for gross misconduct and no meetings have been adjourned due to lack of a quorum, Leung said. 

In the past year, the LegCo, free from the obstruction of the Lam Chau radicals, has supported the Hong Kong government in a difficult period and made a special contribution to maintaining the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, experts told the Global Times. 

"Although there are no incumbent opposition members, there is still a lot of room for the opposition to survive in the electoral system of the LegCo," Tian Feilong, a member of the Beijing-based Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Monday. "Non pro-establishment politicians have been encouraged to participate in Hong Kong's politics and lawmaking, as long as they are patriots."

Moderate opposition figures and neutralists will be attracted to run for office, which will help shape the ecology of democratic politics in Hong Kong, Tian said. 

"If the non pro-establishment camp still adopts a non-cooperative attitude, it will definitely be detrimental to the overall situation of Hong Kong's long-term development," Tian said.

Since the implementation of Hong Kong's national security law more than a year ago, its effectiveness has been witnessed by the community, and it has been embraced and supported accordingly, observers noted. 

The LegCo has the responsibility to continue to improve local legislation and close other loopholes for the implementation of the national security law, Tian noted. 

The nominations for the upcoming LegCo election will run from October 30 to November 12, according to the Registration and Electoral Office. The official election will be held on December 19. 

Leung said that he believes some young professionals will join LegCo in the next term, after Hong Kong's electoral reform expanded the legislature from 70 to 90 seats.