Civic Passion lawmaker to stay on amid pan-dem indecision

Top News | Michael Shum 13 Aug 2020

Civic Passion's Cheng Chung-tai will stay on during the one-year extension of the Legislative Council, making him the first pro-democracy lawmaker to make such a decision.

"If the pro-democracy camp decides not to stay on, their stance should be clearer and they should boycott the whole electoral system, instead of only the appointment this time," Cheng said yesterday.

"A Legco with functional constituencies is not democratic to start with. If the pro-democracy camp wants to boycott the legislature because they find the term extension breaches democracy principles, they should also boycott the whole electoral system."

His declaration came as the camp debates whether to stay in Legco or boycott it after the National People's Congress Standing Committee decided to extend the terms of all incumbent lawmakers for at least a year.

Pro-establishment lawmakers began discharging their duties yesterday, meeting with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to ask for new subsidies to support workers.

Federation of Trade Unions head Alice Mak Mei-kuen said: "The livelihood of many employees have been affected during the pandemic and, with our terms extended, I hope the government could call special meetings to speed up the process to support workers."

NPC deputy Ip Kwok-him said the extension could minimize repercussions and restore Legco operations in the shortest period of time.

However, he said the decision was not in line with the Basic Law, with Article 69 stating that each legislature's term shall be four years.

"But the decision was made based on the specific circumstances of the SAR and in accordance with the constitution of China," Ip said.

"Therefore, the decision should not be treated as breaking the Basic Law as the SAR was not hit by a pandemic when the Basic Law was drafted."

In a statement, the government said it will not organize by-elections for four vacant seats left after three lawmakers were ruled "not duly elected" and one resigned to join the government.

All lawmakers will also not be required to reswear their oaths for the transition period.

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