Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the government is dedicated to resolving disputes between the pan-democratic camp and the pro-establishment camp in the Legislative Council, although she does not see such efforts succeeding any time soon.
In an interview aired by RTHK on Thursday, Lam told the host, former Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, that the new government had a bumpy start because of disputes in the parliament over the past few months, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
She admitted that the situation at Legco sometimes made her feel helpless, knowing that a turnaround in the short term will be difficult no matter how many olive branches her government offers to the opposition. But she said her government will not give up.
The disputes the Hong Kong leader referred to included the disqualification of several lawmakers, the jailing of pro-democracy activists, the co-location arrangements for the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link, and the revision of Legco’s rules of procedure.
Lam said she has not been in contact with members of the pan-democratic camp recently, but Eric Chan Kwok-ki, director of the Chief Executive’s Office, has been communicating with them on her behalf to address such disputes.
All of the disputes will be resolved sooner or later, Lam said with confidence, adding that similar situations had happened in Legco before but all of them had been sorted out.
Once the disputes are settled, she hopes to establish a platform to communicate with all political parties.
She said efforts to fix social divisions are as important as good governance.
Still, Lam chose to side with the pro-establishment camp by saying Legco’s meeting rules should be revised.
The rules of procedure are outdated and not fit for today’s political system, Lam said, noting that there should be no controversy if the amendments focus only on eliminating clauses that are out of touch with society, even though she believes filibustering will not disappear as a result.
In response to Lam’s remarks, Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun criticized her for trying to turn Legco into one akin to China’s National People’s Congress by agreeing with the pro-establishment camp to tighten the rules.
Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, who represents the legal sector, said the government should not get involved because revising meeting rules is Legco’s internal affair.
Separately, Lam, who is in Da Nang, Vietnam, to attend the leaders’ summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which started on Friday, told a pre-meeting seminar on Thursday that Hong Kong will continue to support and practice free trade.
– Contact us at [email protected]