Veteran politician Jasper Tsang Yok-sing has voiced his support for industrial (first) lawmaker-elect Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen to succeed him as Legislative Council president. Leung is is set to run on behalf of the pro-establishment camp in next week’s election.

Tsang, who stood down from the position at the end of LegCo’s last session, said on Tuesday that – having seen Leung act as the president’s deputy in his absence – he believed Leung would be a “very competent” leader. He added that Leung would be able to foster relationships with different political parties.

LegCo president Jasper Tsang when he announced the meeting was adjourned.
Former LegCo president Jasper Tsang.

Leung, chairman of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, has been an industrial (first) constituency lawmaker since 2004. He said in an RTHK programme on Tuesday that Tsang had been a “very good” president over the past eight years, and asked the public to give him time to adjust and not compare him with Tsang.

Asked about his stance on filibustering, a tactic used by pan-democrats to stop bills or motions from being passed, Leung said that it is not easy to halt the practice as he needs to balance the need for lawmakers to discuss issues with the proper functioning of the legislature.

The candidate said that he would study precedents set by former LegCo presidents in deciding whether to halt filibustering in the future.

andrew leung kwan-yuen
Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen. File

Leung added that although he may not have the majority’s support at the beginning of his office as president, he will work on building trust and fostering cooperation with lawmakers.

Tsang advised Leung that the first month as the president is a critical period for developing a good relationship with legislators.

“If the relationships among lawmakers are already tense and lack trust at the beginning, it would make the work of the legislature very difficult,” said Tsang.

“Both president and lawmakers should have the same goal: put on a good show for the public,” he added.

But Michael Tien Puk-sun of the New People’s Party said he may not attend the voting session for LegCo president next Wednesday. Tien earlier indicated his intention to run for the position, and opposed Leung’s candidacy on the basis that the functional constituency lawmaker-elect could not represent the people.

Michael Tien Puk-sun. File
Michael Tien Puk-sun. File

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.

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.