Source: Hong Kong Information Services
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)
Chief Executive Carrie Lam explained the decision on the qualification of Legislative Council members made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC).
She fielded questions from reporters at a media session this afternoon after the Government announced that legislators Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung had been stripped of their LegCo seats with immediate effect.
Mrs Lam pointed out that the Government sought the decision in an effort to address a constitutional problem.
“The constitutional problem arose from the fact that the NPCSC had earlier on – that was on August 11 – made a decision in response to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s request – because we had delayed the election by one year. So they had made a decision to allow the sixth-term Legislative Council to continue its responsibilities for no less than one year. So the NPCSC is the source of the authority for this extended tenure of LegCo.
“The second point is that we all know before the postponement of the election was decided, we were in the midst of a nomination period for candidates to contest in the seventh-term LegCo.
“Four incumbent LegCo members were being ruled as not fulfilling the nomination criteria, that is, they could not fulfil the conditions in the declaration that they are pledging allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR and the Basic Law.
“So we needed to find a way out, so to speak, because we could not allow members of LegCo, who have been judged in accordance with the law that they could not fulfil the requirement and the prerequisites for serving on LegCo, to continue to operate in LegCo.
“The NPCSC has made the decision today, which has made it very clear, that the criteria for anyone who has taken an oath and serves as a LegCo member, but thereafter engages in activities which are breaching those requirements, should immediately lose their qualification to become a LegCo member.”
Mrs Lam stressed that the NPCSC’s decision is a constitutional, lawful and reasonable arrangement.
“It is necessary and complies with the relevant stipulations of the Basic Law. The Hong Kong SAR Government is not targeting any LegCo member.
“The current arrangement is purely based on the interpretation of Basic Law Article 104 made by the NPCSC and its decision made on August 11, and is to ensure that LegCo members who continue to serve comply with the legal requirements and preconditions under Basic Law Article 104.”
Mrs Lam emphasised that the NPCSC’s decision has nothing to do with the filibustering situation in the council.
“This whole deliberation has very little to do with the filibustering. We would not take away LegCo members’ qualification because they deploy certain parliamentary tactics in LegCo, that is, they keep on asking questions, they may call quorums and so on.
“Although, of course, we would not like to see these sort of tactics being deployed very extensively, to the extent of totally disrupting the normal functioning of LegCo, that is not the purpose of this decision at all.”