Chairperson elections at at least six Legislative Council panels were unable to proceed due to protests by opposition camp lawmakers.
The protests were related to unclear roles for lawmakers who chair the meetings, as well as in response to the controversy surrounding whether lawmakers whose oaths were rejected last week should be able to participate in meetings.
The first protests unfolded at the Panel on Security on Tuesday morning. As the most senior lawmaker, James To Kun-sun was running for chairmanship and thus the opposition’s Leung Yiu-chun chaired the meeting according to the rules.
Leung, who sparked controversy last week for relinquishing his role as chair during the first LegCo meeting, used the time to question the LegCo secretariat over what powers he would have whilst chairing the meeting. However, his move was opposed by the pro-Beijing camp who said that it was the wrong occasion to raise such questions.
Leung’s actions stalled the meeting for more than 30 minutes – surpassing the scheduled time 9am finish time – as pro-Beijing camp lawmakers walked out to join the Panel on Development in the adjacent room. The secretariat determined that the meeting was cut short due to low attendance without any chairperson or vice-chairperson being elected.
However, Leung said he did not decide to do so and so allowed the meeting to continue after 9:30am.
The election for chairperson roles at the Panel on Manpower was also postponed as the room it was due to take place in was still occupied by Leung’s Panel on Security meeting.
Over at the Panel on Education, Civic Passion’s Cheng Chung-tai nominated Youngspiration’s Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chun-hang as chairman. The nomination was accepted by James To, who was holding the meeting. However, Leung was not present at the meeting, and the pro-Beijing camp argued that, since he did not complete his oath and was barred from joining meetings, he should not be allowed to run as chair either.
To then announced the meeting was unable to proceed due to an inadequate amount of time for discussion.
Lawmaker Lau Siu-lai voted in the election for the chairmanship at the Panel on Home Affairs.
But after the vote, she received a letter from the LegCo president stating that her oath taken last week was invalidated. The news sparked debate as to whether Lau was qualified to vote, and whether the result of the chairperson election should be upheld.
The meeting was also not completed within the scheduled time.
At the Panel on Transport, the debate over whether Lau should stay in the conference room caused the meeting to run out of time before any lawmaker could be nominated for the chairperson roles.
At the Panel on Constitutional Affairs, several opposition lawmakers, including Leung Kwok-hung, Ray Chan Chi-chuen and Nathan Law Kwun-chung, were continuously protesting by nominating pro-Beijing camp members to official roles on the panel, in order to stall proceedings.
The pro-Beijing camp’s Starry Lee Wai-king questioned whether they were abusing the right to nominate members by preventing the meeting from proceeding.
But To said that banning their right to nominate lawmakers may invalidate the elections entirely.
All other panels, meanwhile, successfully elected their chairperson and vice-chairperson positions.