Date
23 May 2017
Pro-establishment lawmakers explain why they walked out of Legco during the historic vote on electoral reform. Photo: RTHK
Pro-establishment lawmakers explain why they walked out of Legco during the historic vote on electoral reform. Photo: RTHK

Pro-Beijing lawmakers’ sincerity questioned after walkout

Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said it was unusual for most of the pro-establishment legislators to walk out during the vote on the electoral reform package Thursday.

She queried the sincerity of those lawmakers, who had said in their speeches during the Legislative Council debate that they supported the government’s proposal, RTHK reported. 

The bill was soundly rejected, with 28 voting against and just eight in favor.

Ivan Choy Chi-keung, senior lecturer in government and public administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was quoted as saying Beijing will be shocked to know there were only eight votes in support of the electoral plan.

Any explanation from the pro-establishment camp is meaningless, Choy said.

Pro-establishment lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung said after the vote that his group of more than 30 legislators left to wait for one of their colleagues, Lau Wong-fat, who represents the Heung Yee Kuk in Legco and was on his way there at the time.

As they wanted Lau to be able to cast his vote, too, they left the chamber to deny the proceedings a quorum, Lam said.

However, a failure of communication resulted in some of the pro-establishment lawmakers remaining in Legco to cast their vote, he said.

Choy said the defeat of the bill is a benchmark of the worsening divisions between the pan-democrats and the pro-establishment camp.

Although the government said it would focus on livelihood issues if the reform package was rejected, it will be hard for it to introduce any policies amid the continuing confrontation in Legco, he said.

Lau Siu-kai, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and former chief adviser to the Hong Kong government, was quoted in the report as saying it would be difficult to restart electoral reform within five to 10 years.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CH/MY/FL

EJ Insight intern reporter

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe