Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam appears to have made headway in opening a dialogue with the pan-democratic camp and repairing ties as she prepares to take office on July 1.
On Monday, Lam met with a group of seven pro-democracy lawmakers for discussions on various issues, in keeping with her pledge to work toward healing the divisions in society.
The meeting with the lawmakers from the Professionals Guild took place at the Office of the Chief Executive-elect in Central and lasted for about one and a half hours.
The meeting seems to have progressed well, going by the feedback given by the lawmakers after the event, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The gathering assumes significance as it was the first such interaction between Lam and lawmakers from the pan-democratic camp after Lam’s victory in the chief executive election.
Although Lam got little support from pan-democrats in the March election, with the camp having mostly backed Lam’s rival, former chief financial secretary John Tsang, it seems that ground is being laid to establish a working relationship between the two sides.
According to Professionals Guild convenor Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, the Monday meeting was constructive and took place in good atmosphere.
Kwok, who hopes to see more meetings of the kind to facilitate regular communication, said he believes Lam sincerely wants to mend social divisions and also improve the relationship between the administration and the legislature.
At the meeting, Lam assured the lawmakers that she will humbly pay heed to policy demands from different political parties and refrain from forcing the Legislative Council to ram contentious bills, according to Kwok.
Also, she told the group that the Central Policy Unit (CPU), which had been established long ago to advise the chief executive, will only be in charge of interdepartmental coordination and that it will stay out of any personnel appointment matters.
The Professionals Guild, meanwhile, took the opportunity to bring up its demands before Lam. But it did not make recommendations to the posts that Lam is still seeking to fill in her incoming administration.
The topics touched upon at the meeting included possible relaunch of political reforms, concerns over Beijing’s meddling in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, reopening the “Civic Square” located outside the government’s headquarters in Admiralty, and expanding Clauses 3 and 8 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance to bring the chief executive into the ambit.
Lam is said to have promised to revise the anti-bribery ordinance, without responding to the rest of the demands.
Among other comments, the Professionals Guild said Lam plans to resume the old way and shift the annual policy address to October from January so as to allow more time for the public to discuss the proposals.
Lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, who represents the education sector, quoted Lam as saying that she hopes lawmakers can approve her plan for extra HK$5 billion spending on education, a key election pledge of Lam, before the Legco adjourns in July.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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