New CE pri­or­i­tizes re­la­tions with LegCo

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By LUIS LIU in Hong Kong luis­liu@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.

ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY

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.

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