20 October 2016
Ronny Tong (inset) will leave his Legco seat on Oct. 1. Photos: Bloomberg, HKEJ
Ronny Tong (inset) will leave his Legco seat on Oct. 1. Photos: Bloomberg, HKEJ

Pan-democrats risk losing power of veto with Ronny Tong exit

The pan-democrats could lose their power of veto in the Legislative Council if a member of the pro-establishment camp wins the by-election triggered by the resignation of Ronny Tong Ka-wah, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

Tong announced Monday he is stepping down as a lawmaker with effect from Oct. 1, after he quit the Civic Party, which he co-founded, over differences in principles.

The functional constituencies in Legco are controlled by the pro-establishment camp, which has 17 votes in the geographical constituencies, one fewer than the pan-democrats’ 18.

Certain bills or motions, such as private members’ bills or motions to change Legco’s rules of procedure, require the support of a majority of legislators representing the geographical constituencies as well as a majority of those representing the functional constituencies.

If the vacancy to be left by Tong is taken by a member of the pro-establishment camp, the pan-democrats will lose the power of veto in the legislature, the report said.

People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip said the pan-democrats must send out a strong candidate to try to win the seat, or else they could be digging their own graves.

Tong said the power of veto is the most valuable political asset of the pan-democrats, and so he hopes his departure will not have any negative impact on their results in next year’s Legco election.

He said he is not considering running in that election as an independent candidate or in the 2017 election for chief executive.

Chinese University of Hong Kong political science lecturer Ivan Choy Chi-keung said the by-election is only for the New Territories East district, and so it would be difficult to turn it into a Hong Kong-wide campaign.

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