Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, one of the candidates running for president of the Legislative Council, said on Tuesday that he may consider voting for issues when his “vote is decisive and matters to the welfare of Hong Kong,” if he is elected.

He was speaking during a special forum for candidates running for LegCo president. Leung is the chairman of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong and is backed by the pro-establishment camp. He has been the representative of the Industrial (First) constituency since 2004.

Andrew Leung. live screencap.

“What I am talking about is [doing things] according to the last two presidents. Basically, I will not vote, but if at a point, there is a bill that has significant effects on Hong Kong, and my vote is decisive and matters to the welfare of Hong Kong, only at that time will I consider voting,” he said, “at this point in time, I cannot see such a chance.”

Fellow candidate James To Kun-sun from the Democratic Party said that it was important that the president, one of the 70 members of the legislature, “carries out his work fairly and independently.”

“I think this benefit is far higher than one lawmaker’s vote,” he said, adding that candidates should make a promise not to vote. To is backed by the pan-democrats.

James To. live screencap.

Hong Kong independence

The two candidates also debated how they would address Hong Kong independence if a lawmaker advocates the idea in the legislature, in response to a question from DAB lawmaker Elizabeth Quat.

To said that it would be “very difficult” to stop the lawmaker from speaking about Hong Kong independence under the current rules and procedures, and that it would be more difficult if the lawmaker cites public discourse.

Legislative Council debate. screencap.

Meanwhile, Leung said the president should follow the Basic Law and the legislative rules and procedures. There should be discussion with the Legislative Council Secretariat to decide what to do, he said.

Other issues, such as communication between different camps and absenteeism, which leads to council meetings ending early, were also addressed.

Under Article 71 of the Basic Law, the president is elected by members of the Legislative Council. The president must be a legislator. He or she presides over all meetings, maintains order in the chamber, decides the agenda and time of meetings and calls special out-of-hours sessions. The election for president will take place on Wednesday, when the first meeting of the new legislative term begins.

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.