Legislative Council President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen feels the tussle between pan-democratic lawmakers and the establishment camp in relation to a debate over proposed changes to the Legco’s rules of procedure cannot drag on endlessly.
Leung told reporters Monday that the debate on house rule changes will end no later than next Monday, with additional meetings set to be held for the purpose, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The aim is to wrap up the debate by Dec. 18 so that rule changes can be passed before Christmas, he said.
The Legco meeting rule changes, involving 12 resolutions and 23 amendments, were proposed by the pro-establishment bloc in October in a bid to curb filibustering activities of the pan-democrats.
Opposition lawmakers are protesting the plan, arguing that the rule changes will help the government ram though controversial legislation such as a national security law.
When the debate began on Thursday last week, it was stalled by opposition lawmakers who resorted to multiple actions, including multiple roll calls and sit-in protests.
As Legco has arranged two-day meetings, on Wednesday and Thursday, this week for the debate to continue, Leung said he will demand additional meetings on Friday, Saturday and even Monday from 9 am to 8 pm if he has to in case democrats resort to more delaying tactics.
Legco Secretariat said on Monday that its survey showed 39 lawmakers agreed with such arrangement.
If that happens, the meetings of the Panel on Transport and the House Committee set for Friday, and a special meeting of the Finance Committee and six other meetings that had earlier been scheduled for Dec. 18, will have to be postponed.
Leung said he will try to have the resolutions and amendments of the proposed changes completed before the meetings adjourn.
Asked if lawmakers would burn the midnight oil to have the meetings, and if the upcoming Monday is a deadline, Leung did not give a straight answer but said he will make a decision based on the prevailing situation.
Pointing out that lawmakers have not passed any bill in the current Legco session, Leung urged the members to do their jobs properly keeping in mind the interests of Hong Kong people.
The Legco chief denied that he is acting under pressure from Beijing’s Liaison Office here and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the central government.
Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun criticized Leung for aiming to force through the proposed changes, saying additional meetings should not be held recklessly.
Calling Leung’s meeting arrangement uncommon, lawmaker Charles Mok Nai-kwong, convenor of pan-democrats, said there is clearly some kind of political mission behind the move and that his camp unanimously condemns it.
Former Legco president Andrew Wong Wang-fat called on Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to step forward and talk to both the pan-democrats and the pro-establishment camps and try to get the rival groups into resolving the current deadlock.
In related news, some people heeded calls from democrats and began to camp outside the Legco building Monday night to show their solidarity with the opposition and its views on the controversial Legco rule changes.
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