Ousted lawmaker Yiu qualified to run in by-election: Ronny Tong

January 18, 2018 15:23
Executive Council member Ronny Tong (inset) believes that Edward Yiu is qualified to run in the Legislative Council by-election in March. Photo: HKEJ

Dr. Edward Yiu Chung-yim, a former lawmaker from the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, is qualified to run in the by-election for the Kowloon West seat in March, according to senior counsel and Executive Council member Ronny Tong Ka-wah.

Tong, a former official and co-founder of the pro-democracy Civic Party, told a radio program on Wednesday that although Yiu was stripped of his seat in the Legislative Council, the law that was applied for his disqualification, the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, is totally different from the one that pertains to his eligibility to run, which is the Legislative Council Ordinance, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Yiu was disqualified along with three other pro-democracy lawmakers by the High Court in July last year for invalid oath-taking in 2016.

By-elections will be held on March 11 to fill the Legco seats left vacant by four lawmakers in three geographical constituencies-Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West and New Territories East-and one functional constituency, the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sector.

After Yiu won the Kowloon West primary held by the pan-democratic camp on Sunday, there has been speculation that he may not be eligible to run for a Legco seat before the next regular Legco election in 2020 as he has been disqualified.

Tong pointed out that neither Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law nor the High Court ruling specified Yiu cannot run for a seat in the current Legco, adding that no conclusion can be drawn from the court’s ruling that Yiu does not uphold the Basic Law or is not loyal to the HKSAR government.

Yiu said on Wednesday that he is seeking legal opinions from two senior counsels about his qualification to run in the Kowloon West by-election and he is prepared to register as a candidate before the nomination period ends on Jan. 29.

Meanwhile, on the question of whether youth leader Agnes Chow Ting is inclined to support Hong Kong independence, Tong said the matter should be left for the election officer to decide. Chow, a standing committee member of pro-democratic youth party Demosistō, is set to run for the Hong Kong Island seat.

Civic Party chairman Alan Leong Kah-kit said Chow should be allowed to run as he has never heard about Chow’s support for Hong Kong independence.

New People's Party chairperson Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee held the same view, noting that rejecting Chow’s candidacy may see a backlash from people who support the pro-democracy camp.

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