New CE prioritizes relations with LegCo
Mending ties with the Legislative Council is important and pressing work for the new government.” Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor stressed the significance of healthy executive-legislative relations over the next five years after introducing nonofficial members of the Executive Council to the press on Tuesday.
Lam hoped the inclusion of “pan-democrats” into the governing team could help bring more diverse voices into the policymaking process. It might also attract more support across the political spectrum.
“Pan-democrat” team members include former lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah, who is now an ExCo member. Tong has also been convener of the local think tank — Path of Democracy. Another “pan-democratic” member in Lam’s team is new Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong — a founding member of the Democratic Party.
Speaking after her first ExCo meeting, Lam said mending ties with the Legislative Council was “important” and “pressing” work for the new government. Poor administrative-legislative relations would hamper the government in delivering policies, she explained.
Seven out of the 16 ExCo members are lawmakers; Lam, therefore, hopes those with dual membership can help bring the two sides closer together.
“They are there to convey to us the views and sentiments of the LegCo members, so these views and opinions can be taken on board at an early stage,” Lam said.
She also hopes they can clearly explain the government’s policies to fellow LegCo members and the voters.
Inviting lawmakers into ExCo has been a common practice for previous CEs. Former CE Leung Chun-ying appointed five to his.
The ExCo — formed by principal ministers and 16 non-official members — assists the CE in policymaking. The members work on the principles of confidentiality and collective responsibility
am will face LegCo in her first CE question-and-answer session today (Wednesday). She said she is very willing to arrange more meetings with LegCo members if this helps improve the relationship.
At a briefing with local media, Lam said she would put significant emphasis on communicating with “pandemocrats”. The relationship deteriorated during the electoral reform row in 2014. At the time, “pan-democrats” started to filibuster on almost all issues because they were not satisfied with the government’s reform package.
Even before assuming office, Lam extended an olive branch to the opposition by meeting different political parties.
Meanwhile, she revealed that the central government did not question her decision to include “pan-democrats” in her team.
This was in line with one of President Xi Jinping’s speeches delivered during his visit to Hong Kong. He said the central government would “seek broad common ground while setting aside major differences” in the city.
Xi said the central government is ready to talk to anyone who loves the country, loves the city and who genuinely supports the “one country, two systems” principle.
Lam also said she would “actively review” reopening the forecourt outside the government headquarters. The place was closed in 2014 for security reasons after massive assemblies during political wrangles in the city. The opposition has been asking the government to reopen it to the public.
Lam believes the square can be reopened provided security issues are resolved.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and members of the new Executive Council have a light moment when meeting the media following their first ExCo meeting at Chief Executive’s Office on Tuesday.