Only one position in the elections for the positions of chairperson and deputy chair for 18 Legislative Council (LegCo) panels was contested during the selection process on Tuesday. All chairpersons and 17 deputy chairs were selected by lawmakers within the panels without competition.

The 18 panels are set up according to specific policy areas, such as education, health services and housing, to deliberate on related issues. They offer opinions on major legislative or financial proposals before their formal introduction into the LegCo or its Finance Committee, and “examine important issues of wide public concern,” according to the LegCo website.

LegCo oath taking
All 90 Hong Kong lawmakers meeting the press after swearing an oath of allegiance on January 3, 2022. File Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The only position that was contested was deputy chairperson of the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services, where Eunice Yung, a barrister from the New People’s Party, beat Ambrose Lam, a fresh face in the Legal Functional Constituency, by 10 votes to five.

That panel oversaw “policy matters relating to the administration of justice and legal services” and must remain “consistent with maintaining the independence of the Judiciary and the rule of law”, according the LegCo website.

After her victory, Yung said that she would focus on the development of the legal industry, especially in terms of opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, Ming Pao reported.

Legislative Council Legco Carrie Lam
Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a Q&A session at the Legislative Council on January 12, 2021. File Photo: Legislative Council, via Flickr.

Holden Chow, a member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), said that the justice panel should look into training judges in Constitution of the People’s Republic of China during its next meeting.

The DAB, the largest pro-Beijing party in the city which won 19 of the 90 seats in LegCo, scored the most representatives in the panel election, with seven members being elected chairpersons and two chosen as deputy chairs on nine panels.

Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions and Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions and the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong each had four members elected, while three from the Liberal Party became panel chairs. In addition to Yung, two members of the New People’s Party were elected as deputy chairs.

2021 LegCo Election Election Committee constituency
Candidates in the Election Committee constituency in Hong Kong’s first “patriots-only” Legislative Council election. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

To ensure “patriots” govern Hong Kong, Beijing implemented an election overhaul in March last year that reduced the number of directly elected seats and inserted a panel of top officials to screen candidates on national security background checks.

The Hong Kong government said the overhaul would ensure the city’s stability and prosperity. However, the changes prompted international condemnation, as they made it near-impossible for pro-democracy candidates to stand.

The first “patriots only” LegCo election last December saw a record low turnout as pro-government candidates swept into the legislature.

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.