Carrie Lam extra cautious in breaking ice with localists

June 07, 2017 11:38
Chief Executive Carrie Lam has been trying to reach out to pan-democrats, but things have not been very smooth when it comes to dealing with radical  democrats and localists. Photo: HKEJ

Incoming Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor delivered on her campaign promise of mending fences in society by reaching out to several pan-democratic parties and meeting with their key members right after she won the election in March.

Three months on, Lam has to a certain extent managed to stabilize her relations with the mainstream and moderate pan-democrats, which were at odds with her and gave her zero endorsement during the nomination stage of the CE election.

Still there is a long way to go before she can substantially improve her relations with them.

When it comes to mending fences with the radical pan-democrats and localist groups, things aren't going as smoothly.

So far Lam has only invited independent Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and People Power's Chan Chi-chuen to meet with her, but the date and other details of their meeting have yet to be confirmed.

After receiving Lam's invitation, Eddie Chu contacted her office and asked that their meeting include a discussion of the Wang Chau public housing project scandal, only to be turned down.

Nor did Lam's office give Chan Chi-chuen a clear answer as to whether the incoming CE would also meet with localist lawmakers who are standing trial for failure to take their oath of office properly. The office replied: “We'll be in touch.”

Opposition lawmakers “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai and Nathan Law Kwun-chung, who are all awaiting the court ruling on charges regarding their oath of office, have not received any invitation for a meeting with Lam.

It is believed that the incoming CE is unlikely to meet with them while their status as lawmakers remains uncertain.

On the other hand, some representatives of the radical camp have candidly put it that they are not keen on meeting with Lam, either, because they "just don't click”.

On the ongoing trial of the four lawmakers for violation of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, media reports said the barristers who represent them have already presented all the supplementary arguments to the court as required, and have formally applied for a permanent stay of proceedings. It is believed the court's verdict may come any time soon.

Some pan-democrats said if the court eventually rules in favor of the four lawmakers, then whether the government would appeal or Carrie Lam would reach out to them would serve as a clear indication of the sincerity of the new administration in seeking reconciliation with the opposition.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 6

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.