Chief Executive Carrie Lam has indicated a desire to mend the relationship with the legislature during a media session held before her first meeting as the city’s leader with the Executive Council.
“Improving the executive-legislative relationship is the most important task for this administration, and will be the first thing the government will be working on,” Lam said on Tuesday.
She said a poor relationship between the executive and legislative branches will not be conducive to effective governance.
Lam added that she is open to the idea of attending legislative sessions more frequently to answer lawmakers’ questions.
“If lawmakers think that the chief executive attending Q&A sessions will benefit the executive-legislative relationship, I am glad to do so,” she said.
“But I know that lawmakers are still discussing the idea, so I will first wait for lawmakers to reach a consensus before speaking with the legislative chair about the matter,” she added.
Lam also promised to consider reopening the East Wing Forecourt of the Central Government Complex, colloquially known as “Civic Square.” The area was a popular protest site until it was fenced off in July 2014.
The pro-democracy camp has since been calling for the forecourt’s reopening. In April, Lam said she would consider the suggestion, though she did not elaborate on her promise.
On Tuesday, Lam said: “If the government can resolve security and management issues, I tend to keep an open-minded attitude.”
However, Demosisto’s lawmaker Nathan Law said Monday that while it is a “good thing” that Lam shows willingness to consider the calls, reopening the forecourt will not improve the relationship between the government and the pro-democracy camp.
“Other than Civic Square, there are also issues with the government’s attempt to challenge the seats of and disqualify lawmakers by way of judicial review, a series of political prosecutions, as well as cooperation among police, thugs and Chinese national security,” Law said.
“The government still gives the impression that it holds a hardline attitude towards dissidents and the pro-democracy camp.”
Since taking office on Saturday, Lam has met with several civil society groups. On Tuesday, Lam met with a dozen protesters outside the Chief Executive Office. Some of them urged the new leader to resist “control” by the Chinese government.
Editor’s note: Digital media outlets such as Hong Kong Free Press remain barred from attending government press conferences.