The Legislative Council has had a chaotic few days, to say the least. Last night the government tried to disqualify two pro-independence lawmakers from retaking their oaths, and at the Legco meeting this morning, three localist lawmakers were unable to retake their oaths as pro-establishment lawmakers stormed out of the room and the meeting had to be adjourned. Oh, and pan-democratic lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung stood before the pro-establisment camp in protest and hurled luncheon meat at them.
Lau Siu-lai, Youngspiration’s Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching were not able to retake their oaths today. Only two lawmakers, Edward Yiu Chung-yim and Wong Ting-kwong, retook their pledge at the 11am meeting this morning.
Pro-Beijing lawmakers asked the two Youngspiration’s lawmakers to apologise before they pledged. Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of the Business and Professionals Alliance said the move (filibustering) today was to safeguard the dignity of all Chinese people. Before the meeting, pro-establishment lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-Chun said: “I hope lawmakers will support my idea of staging a walkout if [the localists] do not apologise and swear in genuinely.”
As pro-establishment lawmakers walked out, the meeting was officially adjourned at 11.19am due to an insufficient quorum – when not enough members are present to make decisions that are valid.
Newly-elected Legco president Andrew Leung announced at about 11.17am that the meeting was adjourned until next Wednesday. This means three localist have to postpone their oath-taking until the next meeting. This was the first time that a new-term Legco meeting had to be aborted owing to the absence of a quorum.
Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang came out from the chamber and criticised pro-Beijing lawmakers for their stupid and ignorant actions.
Yau Wai-ching echoed his sentiment, saying she hopes the meeting can resume so she can retake the oath. “Pro-Beijing lawmakers broke their promise as they guaranteed not to filibuster or abort the Legco meetings, but today they are not doing their job.”
Last night, the Hong Kong government took the unprecedented step of mounting a legal challenge to disqualify two pro-independence lawmakers on grounds that they had gone against the Basic Law during their swearing-in last week.
In a last-minute bid, the administration sought but failed to obtain an interim injunction to bar the Youngspiration pair from retaking their oaths today.
But Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung did allow an application for a judicial review against Legislative Council president Andrew Leung’s decision over the retaking of the oaths.
The hearing on the application has been set for November 3.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung had mounted the legal battle against the duo. Swept up in the case is the Legco president, who had earlier in the day indicated he would allow the two to retake their oaths on Wednesday.
Last Wednesday, the opening session of Legco descended into chaos as the two amended the official oaths they were to read out and pledged allegiance to “the Hong Kong nation”.
Last night, lawyers for the chief executive and justice secretary accused the duo of “exhibiting to the world” that they would not uphold the Basic Law recognising Hong Kong as an inalienable part of China.
The lawsuit effectively places the executive and legislative branches on a collision course.
In court, the lawyer for Andrew Leung argued that the government’s move was a “serious deprivation of the constitutional rights” of the two lawmakers-elect.
“I want to emphasise the president has an important institutional duty ... to protect the institution elected by different sectors of society,” said lawyer Jat Sew-tong SC, acting for the Legco president. “[He has to] safeguard the interests of all elected councillors.”