Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen has been elected as president of the Legislative Council in a twist of events as opposition lawmakers walked out of the vote in protest of a sudden change in procedure.

Veteran lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung was originally set to manage a meeting on Wednesday afternoon to elect the president. However, opposition lawmakers attempted to delay the vote by casting doubt on the eligibility of Leung. The presence of three lawmakers in the chamber – who did not complete their oaths – also prevented the vote.

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Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

However, Leung was suddenly able to present a document showing he had completed the procedure to renounce his British citizenship and thus his right of abode in the UK – a requirement for the presidential position.

Leung Yiu-chung then gave up chairing the meeting, claiming that he “is not good at chairing meetings.”

Lawmaker Abraham Shek Lai-him took over, according to LegCo rules of procedures, and decided to change the meeting venue to Conference Room 1, instead of the main chamber.

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Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

Two lawmakers – Baggio Leung Chun-hang and Yau Wai-ching – who did not complete their oaths earlier in the day were barred from entering the room by LegCo security guards.

Opposition lawmakers surrounded the chairman’s table in the conference room in protest, as Shek shouted: “Throw them out! Continue distributing the votes!” Ted Hui Chi-fung of the Democratic Party was able to enter an area encircled by LegCo security guards, as he shouted chants in protest of an alleged abuse of power by Shek. He was then surrounded by three security guards.

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Eddie Chu. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

Sixty-five ballots were distributed before opposition lawmakers inside the room tore up their voting papers and walked out.

Pro-Beijing lawmakers Regina Ip and Starry Lee were monitoring the voting process in the absence of any opposition lawmakers.

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Andrew Leung was then elected by 38 votes. The other contestant James To Kun-sun received zero votes.

There were two blank votes announced, and another valid vote which was found on the floor of the room, but Shek decided not to count it.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.