The New People’s Party’s Michael Tien Puk-sun has said that Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, a fellow pro-establishment candidate for Legislative Council president, may not be able represent the people as he was elected through a functional constituency. Tien was speaking on Commercial Radio on Wednesday hours before pro-democracy lawmaker-elect James To entered the race.

Leung, of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, is the representative for the Industrial (first) constituency. Unlike geographical constituencies, functional constituency lawmakers are voted for by special interest groups as opposed to the public. Leung, Tien and Paul Tse Wai-chun, are all incoming pro-establishment lawmakers vying for the position of president of the Legislative Council this upcoming term.

Michael Tien Puk-sun. File

“After the handover, our excellent tradition is that it is always a directly elected member who is president,” said Tien. “I have come out solely for this belief. Because Paul and I, we are directly elected, and it is not about how many people [voted]. It is because we [are elected] across classes, and as we cross classes, our pressure to be fair is very great.”

Tse also said that the tradition should be maintained, and that the president should have the ability to serve the public.

Paul Tse Wai-chun. Photo: RTHK Screencap.

Tien said that many on the pro-establishment side would like Leung because he has a hard stance, though he was also not a soft person himself.

“As to whether or not I submit my application, I will have to see at that time… if most support Andrew, then for the sake of the bigger picture, I will not submit my application,” he said.

He added that he had already received the nominations required to enter the race.

To enters race

James To Kun-sun. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

James To Kun-sun of the Democratic Party also announced his intention to run for president. He said that he believed Leung was “too mean,” and that he would be able to “do better” in enacting Legislative Council procedures, allowing the most room for lawmakers to debate issues.

Under Article 71 of the Basic Law, the president is elected by members. The president must be a legislator and can preside over all meetings, maintain order in the chamber, decide the agenda and time of meetings and call special out-of-hours sessions. Jasper Tsang Yok-sing stood down from the role at the end of the last session.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.