20 February 2019
The pan-democratic camp said mass resignation would have little impact on the operation of the Legislative Council. Photo: HKEJ
The pan-democratic camp said mass resignation would have little impact on the operation of the Legislative Council. Photo: HKEJ

Pan-democrats not keen on collective resignation

The pan-democratic camp has reservations over a proposal for collective resignation as a response to the recent disqualifications of four lawmakers, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Leung Kwok-hung, one of the four disqualified legislators, said the proposal, made by Civic Passion legislator Cheng Chung-tai, would definitely send shock waves through the community.

However, there would be little impact unless the Legislative Council is surrounded by 50,000 people and that Hongkongers are supporting any act of disobedience against the government, Leung said.

Aside from Leung, also known as “Long Hair”, the other legislators disqualified last Friday were Lau Siu-lai of Democracy Groundwork, Nathan Law Kwun-chung of Demosistō and Edward Yiu Chung-yim.

The High Court has ruled that the four did not take their oaths of office correctly during the swearing-in ceremony last October, rendering them invalid.

Fellow lawmaker Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu also said a mass resignation by the pan-democrats would not paralyze the Legislative Council.

The pro-establishment camp, with 40 seats in the legislature, could effortlessly run Legco meetings even if five of their members are absent at any one time.

Yeung also warned the public of possible repeat of such incidents as the Provisional Legislative Council shooting down the collective bargaining ordinance and passing the public security ordinance in 1997.

Cheng, along with former lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man, has called for the pan-democrats to quit en masse to force a referendum. The proposal was also backed by retired teacher James Hon Lin-shan.

Lawmaker Andrew Wan Siu-kin from the Democratic Party posted a message on his social media account hitting out at the proposal, saying Cheng could be either politically childish or working for the establishment as an undercover.

Lau Siu-lai also said she was against the idea of mass resignation.

Members of the Democratic Party are holding meetings on Monday to devise strategies following the disqualifications. They said they hoped the new administration under Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor would offer an olive branch.

Independent legislator Eddie Chu Hoi-dick said the pan-democrats would maintain peace with the new government if it promised not to hold by-elections for the six vacant Legco seats in one go and seek legal costs from the disqualified lawmakers.

Benny Tai Yiu-ting, one of the convenors of the 2014 Occupy Movement, also gave five conditions for a “ceasefire” with the government, including a promise not to challenge any other legislators’ qualifications via judicial reviews and forgoing the legal costs for the four disqualified legislators.

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said during a radio program on Saturday that by-election arrangements will depend on the progress of the events, while the government will first await the completion of the legal proceedings.

Nip added that the government would need time to arrange for the manpower, venue and funds required for the by-elections.

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