The new president of the Legislative Council has said he opposes the government’s move to seek legal challenge to block two localist politicians from retaking their oaths as lawmakers. He has instructed LegCo staff members to cast opposition in court.
Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen told the media of his stance after meeting with 27 lawmakers of the pro-democracy camp. Earlier on Tuesday, he allowed Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chun-hang and Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration to take their oaths again on Wednesday, if they wrote to him to request the procedure. Both Baggio Leung and Yau have since done so.
“I accepted the opposition camp’s suggestions and I have given instructions our lawyers to oppose the government’s application,” Leung said.
‘Severe damage, complete disrespect’
Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, one of the 27, said they cannot accept the Chief Executive’s attempt to interfere with LegCo’s internal operation through a judicial review.
“The Chief Executive’s action severely damages the separation of powers stipulated by the Basic Law, completely disrespects LegCo, and forcefully involves the judiciary,” Kwok said. “In that he wishes to use political pressure to make the judiciary halt LegCo’s internal operations, we think this is not only abusing the judicial process but disrespecting the legislature. We demand that – if Andrew Leung respects the separation of powers – as the LegCo president, if he is really the president of the LegCo, he should defend the LegCo’s dignity and autonomy.”
The LegCo’s secretary-general, vice-secretary-general and its legal advisers have been in a meeting with senior counsel Jat Sew-Tong, LegCo’s outside legal adviser.
Andrew Leung said he only learnt of the move only in the past few hours, and that the LegCo has yet to receive the legal documents, as of 7:30pm.
“At this stage, the agenda of the LegCo will still be carried out, unless the court orders that I cannot do so,” Leung said. “I understand society has different views over this incident, but the government chose this path – I will see how this issue unfolds.”
“My ruling today [to allow the retaking of oaths] was in accordance with the law and the LegCo’s rules of procedure, I think I have made public all of my rationale,” Leung added. “Even the opposition camp did not bring challenges or questioned my ruling, thus I think it was correct.”
Last week, Baggio Leung and Yau’s oaths were rejected by the LegCo secretary-general. Both pronounced China as “chee-na,” which some took as an insult to Chinese people, whilst Yau seemingly pronounced “republic” as “refucking” in the phrase “People’s Republic of China.” They also displayed a banner which read “Hong Kong is not China.”