The presidential election of the Legislative Council was unable to proceed on Wednesday as opposition lawmakers debated whether Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen had relinquished his right of abode in the UK. Leung is poised to become the legislature’s president, though documents he presented to prove his eligibility to stand for the position were rejected by several democratic lawmakers.
On Wednesday morning, Leung presented lawmakers with two letters from the UK’s Home Office. One said he has “registered as having renounced British Citizenship” effective from September 30. The letter also said: “Enclosed is the Declaration of renunciation bearing a stamp of registration.” Candidates must relinquish any right of abode abroad in order to be eligible as president.
Opposition camp members such as Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong and Helena Wong Pik-wan questioned why Leung’s documents did not include the actual declaration of renunciation.
The documents provided by Leung.
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) October 12, 2016
Leung admitted the documents shown to lawmakers were copies of emails from the Home Office, and that he has yet to receive the declaration. According to another document sent to him on October 11, it was despatched from the UK on October 6, and is expected to be delivered to Leung within five to seven working days of despatch.
In defence of Leung, lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Sik-yee said the letters showed Leung had been registered to give up British citizenship, thus he does not have right of abode in the UK anymore. As she was once security minister, Ip said she had experience in Hong Kong’s British nationality issue.
“It is not the case that he will only be confirmed as giving up [British citizenship] after receiving the declaration,” she said.
However, the opposition camp was still not satisfied with Leung and Ip’s explanation, insisting that Leung should show the actual declaration.
“I will make it public when I receive it,” Leung said.
The issue was yet to be resolved when the LegCo meeting to elect the president resumed around 3pm on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the election faces another issue of whether to allow three incoming lawmakers – whose oaths were rejected by the LegCo secretary-general – to speak in the election debate or vote in the election.
Leung Yiu-chung, a veteran pro-democracy lawmaker who was temporarily acting as president according to LegCo rules, allowed Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chun-hang – one of the three rejected – to speak at the meeting.