Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

香港特別行政區立法會
7th Legislative Council
Type
Type
History
Founded
  • 26 June 1843; 178 years ago (1843-06-26) (colonial)
  • 25 January 1997; 24 years ago (1997-01-25) (provisional)
  • 1 July 1998; 23 years ago (1998-07-01) (HKSAR)
Preceded byProvisional Legislative Council
Leadership
  Andrew Leung, BPA
since 12 October 2016
Structure
Seats90
Political groups
Pro-Beijing (89)
Centrist (1)
Elections
Last general election
19 December 2021
Next general election
2025
Meeting place
Legislative Council Complex, 1 Legislative Council Road, Tamar, Central & Western District, Hong Kong
22°16′52″N 114°09′58″E / 22.281087°N 114.166127°E / 22.281087; 114.166127Coordinates: 22°16′52″N 114°09′58″E / 22.281087°N 114.166127°E / 22.281087; 114.166127
Website
www.legco.gov.hk
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
Traditional Chinese香港特別行政區立法會
Simplified Chinese香港特别行政区立法会
Legislative Council
Traditional Chinese立法會
Simplified Chinese立法会
Name before 1997
Chinese立法局
The Legislative Council Building (1985–2011)
Central Government Offices, home to Legco 1950s to 1985
Central Government Offices, home to Legco 1950s to 1985
The French Mission Building housed LegCo in the 1840s
The French Mission Building housed LegCo in the 1840s
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  Download coordinates as: KML

The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (LegCo) is the domestic unicameral legislature of Hong Kong. It sits under China's "one country, two systems" constitutional arrangement, and is the power centre of Hong Kong's hybrid representative democracy.[2]

The functions of the Legislative Council are to enact, amend or repeal laws; examine and approve budgets, taxation and public expenditure; and raise questions on the work of the government. In addition, the Legislative Council is also given the power to endorse the appointment and removal of the judges of the Court of Final Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court, as well as the power to impeach the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.[3][4]

Following the 2019–2020 Hong Kong protests, the National People's Congress disqualified several opposition councilors and initiated electoral overhaul in 2021. The current Legislative Council consists of three groups of constituencies--geographical constituencies (GCs), functional constituencies (FCs), and Election Committee constituencies—and has been dominated by the pro-Beijing camp since an opposition walkout in 2020.[5] Following the 2021 reform, the percentage of directly elected representatives dropped to 22% as the overall number of seats increased to 90.[5]

The original two groups (GCs and FCs) had constitutional significance. Government bills requires a simple majority of the council for passage, whereas private member bills requires simple majorities in two discrete divisions of geographical members and functional members for passage. Therefore, the directly elected legislators (mainly from the GCs) had minimal influence over government policy and legislative agenda.[citation needed] Filibusters became more frequent in the 2010s.[citation needed]

The historical Legislative Council of Hong Kong in the British colonial era was created under the 1843 Charter as an advisory council to the Governor. The authority of the colonial legislature expanded throughout its history.[4] A parallel Provisional Legislative Council was put in place by China from 1996 to 1998 to pass laws in anticipation of the Hong Kong handover.

History

Colonial period

The Legislative Council of Hong Kong was set up in 1843 for the first time as a colonial legislature under British rule. Hong Kong's first constitution,[4] in the form of Queen Victoria's letters patent, issued on 27 June 1843 and titled the Charter of the Colony of Hong Kong, authorised the establishment of the Legislative Council to advise the Governor of Hong Kong's administration. The council had four official members including the governor who was president of the council when it was first established. The Letters Patent of 1888, which replaced the 1843 charter, added the significant words "and consent" after the words "with the advice".[4] The Legislative Council was initially set up as the advisory body to the governor, and for the most of the time, consisted half of official members, who were the government officials seating in the council, and half of unofficial members who were appointed by the Governor.

After the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed on 19 December 1984 (in which the United Kingdom agreed to transfer the sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997), the Hong Kong government decided to start the process of democratisation based on the consultative document, Green Paper: the Further Development of Representative Government in Hong Kong on 18 July 1984.[6] The first elections to the Council were held in 1985, followed by the first direct elections of the Legislative Council held in 1991. The Legislative Council became a fully elected legislature for the first time in 1995 and extensively expanded its functions and organisations throughout the last years of the colonial rule.[7]

The People's Republic of China government did not agree with reforms to the Legislative Council enacted by the last Governor Chris Patten in 1994. Therefore, it withdrew the previous so-called "through-train" policy that would have allowed that members elected to the colonial Legislative Council automatically becoming members of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) legislature. Instead, the Beijing government resolved to set up an alternative legislative council in preparation for the return of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from Britain to China.

Before the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997, a Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) was unilaterally set up in Shenzhen by the Government of the People's Republic of China as opposed to the 1995 elected colonial legislature. The PLC moved to Hong Kong and replaced the legislature after the transfer of sovereignty of 1997, until the next general election in 1998. Since 2000, the terms of the Legislative Council are four years, with the exception of the 6th Legislative Council.

This body, the Provisional Legislative Council, was established by the Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China in 1996.[8] The Provisional Legislative Council which was seen as unconstitutional by the British authorities and boycotted by most pro-democracy legislators, in operation from 25 January 1997 to 30 June 1998, initially held its meetings in Shenzhen until 30 June 1997.

Early SAR years

The current Legislative Council of the HKSAR was established on 1 October 1998 under the Basic Law of the HKSAR. The first meeting of the council was held in July of the same year in Hong Kong. Since the Basic Law came into effect, five Legislative Council elections have been held, with the most recent election being held on 4 September 2016. The Democratic Party had briefly held the largest party status in the early years of the SAR period, but its support was slowly eaten out by its pro-democracy allies such as The Frontier and later the Civic Party. In the 2004 election, the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) surpassed the Democrats as the largest party for the first time and has since held its superior status. Due to the indirectly elected trade-based functional constituencies which largely favour business interest represented by the Liberal Party and subsequently the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA), the pro-Beijing camp has been able to keep the majority in the legislature despite receiving less votes than the pro-democracy bloc in the direct elections.

Article 68 of the Hong Kong Basic Law states the ultimate aim is the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. This and a similar article dealing with election of the Chief Executive have made universal suffrage for the council and the Chief Executive one of the most dominant issues in Hong Kong politics.

In 2010, the government's constitutional reform proposal became the first and only constitutional move was passed by the Legislative Council in the SAR era with the support of the Democratic Party after the Beijing government accepted the modified package as presented by the party, which increased the composition of the Legislative Council from 60 to 70 seats; increasing five extra seats in the directly elected geographical constituencies and five new District Council (Second) functional constituency seats which are nominated by the District Councillors and elected by all registered electorates.[9] The most recent constitutional reform proposal, which suggested the electoral method of the Legislative Council remained unchanged, was vetoed in 2015, after a massive occupy protest often dubbed as the "Umbrella Revolution" demanding for universal suffrage broke out in 2014.[10]

The 2016 New Territories East by-election and September general election saw the rise of localist tide where a number of pro-independence candidates were elected to the council. In November, in Beijing's fifth interpretation of the Basic Law since the 1997 handover, the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) disqualified those with invalid oaths from assuming public office pursuant to Article 104, in light of the swearing-in ceremonies of two pro-independence legislators.[11][12] Four more pro-democracy and localist legislators were unseated as a result in the following court cases.[13] Returning officers also disqualified certain candidates who had advocated for Hong Kong self-determination, with or without option for independence, from running in the following by-elections; the government expressed support for such decisions.[14][15]

2019 crisis and 2021 overhaul

The 2019 amendment of the extradition bill caused an historic political upheaval, where intensive protests erupted throughout the city in the latter half of the year, including the storming of the Legislative Council Complex on the 22nd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong on 1 July.[16] In July 2020, in light of the pro-democrats' attempt to seize the majority of the Legislative Council in the midst of the largely unpopular Carrie Lam government, the government postponed the seventh general election, citing the COVID-19 spike. At variance with the four-year term set out in the Basic Law, the NPCSC decided in August that the sitting Legislative Council should continue with its duties for at least one year; however, the term of the upcoming LegCo would remain four years.[11][17] In a November decision, the NPCSC disqualified LegCo members on grounds such as Hong Kong independence, Chinese sovereignty, and solicitation of foreign intervention, impacting four sitting legislators whose candidacies had been invalidated in the postponed election.[11] After the disqualification, the 15 remaining pro-democracy legislators announced their resignation in protest, leaving the legislature with virtually no opposition.[18]

On 27 January 2021, CCP general secretary Xi Jinping said that Hong Kong could only maintain its long-term stability and security by ensuring "patriots governing Hong Kong" when he heard a work report delivered by Carrie Lam.[19] In March 2021, China's National People's Congress passed a resolution that authorized an overhaul of Hong Kong's electoral system, including that of the Legislative Council.[20] The reform would allow a new Candidate Eligibility Review Committee, composed entirely of principal officials from the Hong Kong government, to vet candidates for the Legislative Council and would increase its total number of seats from 70 to 90.[21] However, the seats that were directly elected would be reduced from 35 to 20, the five directly elected District Council (Second) seats would also be removed, while an additional 40 seats would be elected by the pro-Beijing Election Committee and 30 seats would remain trade-based functional constituencies. Every candidate must have nominations from each of the five sectors in the Election Committee.[21][22]

The Legislative Council Building

Main article: Legislative Council Complex

The first meetings of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, from 1844 to 1846, were likely convened in the residence of Governor Pottinger (later to be the French Mission Building), still standing at Government Hill. From 1848 to 1954 (interrupted by renovation in 1928-9 and the Japanese occupation in 1941–5), it was housed on the upper floor of the Colonial Secretariat Building, Lower Albert Road, replaced in 1957 by the Annex to the Central Government Offices Main Wing, on the same site.[23] In 1985, LegCo moved down to the nearby Old Supreme Court building (22°16′52″N 114°09′36″E / 22.280996°N 114.160116°E / 22.280996; 114.160116) in Central Hong Kong where it remained until November 2011.[24] It took up residence in its present accommodation at the Legislative Block of the Central Government Complex, Tamar in December 2011.

Unlike many other former and current Commonwealth legislatures, the Hong Kong Legislative Council does not have a ceremonial mace placed in its chambers. However, the high courts of Hong Kong use a mace to open sessions, and it represents the authority and powers of the court.

To provide a long-term solution to the space shortage problem facing both the Government and the Legislative Council, the Government commissioned the Tamar Development for the design and construction of the Central Government Complex, the Legislative Council Complex and other ancillary facilities in 2008. The Legislative Council Complex comprises a low block and a high block: the low block, which will be named the Council Block, mainly houses conference facilities including the Chamber, major conference rooms, and communal facilities such as library, cafeteria and education facilities. The range of education facilities for visit by the public includes video corner, visitors' sharing area, exhibition area, children's corner, viewing gallery and access corridors, memory lane, education activities rooms and education galleries. The high block, which will be named as the Office Block, mainly houses offices for members and staff of the Legislative Council Secretariat. Officially opened on 1 August 2011, administrative staff had already taken occupation on 15 January 2011.

Membership composition

The Legislative Council consists of 90 members. The term of office of a member is constitutionally four years except for the first term (1998 to 2000) which was set to be two years according to Article 69 of the Basic Law. The 6th Legislative Council's term of office of over five years from 2016 is in direct violation of Article 69 of the Basic Law.[citation needed]

In both the 2008 and 2004 elections, 30 members were directly elected by universal suffrage from geographical constituencies (GCs) and 30 were elected from functional constituencies (FCs). In the 2000 election, 24 were directly elected, six elected from an 800-member electoral college known as the Election Committee of Hong Kong, and 30 elected from FCs. Since the 2004 election, all the seats are equally divided between geographical and functional constituencies.

According to The Basic Law, while the method for forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress, the ultimate aim is to elect all Council members by universal suffrage (Article 68 of The Basic Law of Hong Kong). However, under the 2021 overhaul, the seats that were directly elected would be reduced from 35 back down to 20, the five directly elected District Council (Second) seats would also be removed, while an additional 40 seats would be elected by the Beijing-controlled Election Committee and 30 seats would remain trade-based functional constituencies, reducing the proportion of directly elected seats from 50% to 22%. Additionally all candidates must now be approved by the unelected HKSAR government via the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee. This has led to all parties that are not pro-Beijing declining to run in the elections, as it is now reasonable to assume that any pro-democracy candidates fielded that might be electable will be disqualified prior to the election.[citation needed]

In this Legislative Council, 59 of the 90 members elected in the 2021 election were elected for the first time, or were not members of the last Legislative Council. All members are listed by seniority according to the year of the beginning of consecutive service then the order of swearing in (i.e. the number of strokes in the traditional characters of names in Chinese per precedent) with the president of the Legislative Council being ranked first.[25]

Order of Precedence
Constituency Member returned Party Declared occupation Elected since Camp Notes
President of the Legislative Council
01 FC Industrial (First)

Andrew Leung
BPA
  • Merchant
2004 Pro-Beijing Seat held
Other members
02 FC Catering

Tommy Cheung
Liberal
  • Merchant
  • Legislative Council Member
2000 Pro-Beijing Seat held
03 FC Commercial (First)

Jeffrey Lam
BPA
  • Merchant
2004 Pro-Beijing Seat held
04 GC Kowloon Central

Starry Lee
DAB
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for District Council (Second) in the last Legislative Council
05 GC New Territories North East

Gary Chan
DAB
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories East in the last Legislative Council
06 FC Insurance

Chan Kin-por
Nonpartisan
  • Member of the Legislative Council
  • Chief Executive of an insurance holding company
2008 Pro-Beijing Seat held
07 EC Election Committee

Priscilla Leung
BPA
  • Associate Professor in a law school
  • Barrister-at-law in Hong Kong
2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Kowloon West in the last Legislative Council
08 GC Hong Kong Island West

Regina Ip
NPP
  • Chairperson of a policy institute's board of governors
  • Co-chair of a non-profit making organization
2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Hong Kong Island in the last Legislative Council
09 EC Election Committee

Paul Tse
Independent
  • Solicitor
2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Kowloon East in the last Legislative Council
10 GC New Territories North West

Michael Tien
Roundtable
  • Member of the Legislative Council
  • Entrepreneur
2012 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Hong Kong Island in the last Legislative Council
11 FC Agriculture and Fisheries

Steven Ho
DAB
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2012 Pro-Beijing Seat held
12 FC Transport

Frankie Yick
Liberal
  • Director in five limited companies
2012 Pro-Beijing Seat held
13 EC Election Committee

Ma Fung-kwok
New Century Forum
  • Managing Director
2012 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication in the last Legislative Council
14 GC New Territories South West

Ben Chan
DAB
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2012 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories West in the last Legislative Council
15 EC Election Committee

Alice Mak
FTU
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2012 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories West in the last Legislative Council
16 FC Labour

Kwok Wai-keung
FTU 2012 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running; stood for Hong Kong Island in the last Legislative Council
17 EC Election Committee

Elizabeth Quat
DAB
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2012 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories East in the last Legislative Council
18 FC Commercial (Second)

Martin Liao
Nonpartisan
  • Barrister-at-law
2012 Pro-Beijing Seat held
19 FC Engineering

Lo Wai-kwok
BPA
  • Engineer
2012 Pro-Beijing Seat held
20 FC Industrial (Second)

Ng Wing-ka
BPA
  • Director
2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
21 EC Election Committee

Junius Ho
Independent
  • Senior Partner of a law firm
2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories West in the last Legislative Council
22 GC New Territories North West

Holden Chow
DAB
  • Solicitor
2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for District Council (Second) in the last Legislative Council
23 FC Wholesale and Retail

Peter Shiu
Liberal
  • Director
2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
24 EC Election Committee

Eunice Yung
NPP/ Civil Force
  • Barrister-at-law
2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories East in the last Legislative Council
25 FC Finance

Chan Chun-ying
Nonpartisan
  • Advisor
2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
26 EC Election Committee

Horace Cheung
DAB
  • Practising Solicitor
2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Hong Kong Island in the last Legislative Council
27 EC Election Committee

Luk Chung-hung
FTU
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Labour in the last Legislative Council
28 GC New Territories North

Lau Kwok-fan
DAB
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for District Council (First) in the last Legislative Council
29 FC Heung Yee Kuk

Kenneth Lau
BPA
  • Vice Chairman of a holding company
2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
30 GC Kowloon West

Vincent Cheng
DAB
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Kowloon West in the last Legislative Council
31 FC Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape

Tony Tse
Nonpartisan
  • Surveyor
2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
32 EC Election Committee Kong Yuk-foon Nonpartisan
  • Solicitor
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
33 FC Education Chu Kwok-keung FEW Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
34 GC New Territories South East

Li Sai-wing
DAB
  • Member of the Legislative Council
  • Director-General of a social welfare agency
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
35 EC Election Committee Hoey Simon Lee Nonpartisan
  • Chief Strategy Officer
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
36 FC Financial Services Lee Wai-wang Nonpartisan Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
37 GC New Territories North East

Dominic Lee
NPP
  • Director of a company
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
38 EC Election Committee Lee Chun-keung Liberal Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
39 FC Social Welfare

Tik Chi-yuen
Third Side
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2022 Non-establishment [26][27] Seat gain
40 GC Hong Kong Island East

Ng Chau-pei
FTU
  • Staff member in a labour union
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
41 EC Election Committee

Johnny Ng
Nonpartisan
  • Director of a company
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
42 FC Labour Chau Siu-chung FLU
  • Staff member in a trade union
2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
43 EC Election Committee Chow Man-kong Nonpartisan
  • Associate Director of a university research institute
  • Associate Director of a university research programme
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
44 FC Medical and Health Services David Lam Nonpartisan
  • Surgeon
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
45 EC Election Committee Lam Chun-sing FLU
  • Staff member in a trade union
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
46 GC New Territories South East Connie Lam Professional Power Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
47 EC Election Committee

Nixie Lam
DAB
  • Board Member of the United Nations Association of China
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
48 EC Election Committee Nelson Lam Nonpartisan
  • Fellow Certified Public Accountant (Practising)
  • Adjunct Professor of a university
  • Founder and Chairman of an accounting firm
  • Chairman and CEO of a consulting firm
  • Independent Non-Executive Director of a holding company
  • Independent Non-Executive Director in Guangdong of a holding company
  • Executive Chairman of a limited company
  • Director of a limited company
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
49 EC Election Committee Dennis Lam Nonpartisan
  • Doctor
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
50 FC Legal Ambrose Lam Nonpartisan
  • Solicitor
2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
51 EC Election Committee

Lam Siu-lo
Nonpartisan
  • Chairman of a holding company
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
52 FC Technology and Innovation Duncan Chiu Nonpartisan
  • Merchant
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
53 FC Tourism Yiu Pak-leung Nonpartisan
  • Chairman of a travel services limited company
2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
54 EC Election Committee Wendy Hong Nonpartisan
  • Head of Research
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
55 EC Election Committee Dong Sun Nonpartisan
  • University Professor
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
56 FC Labour

Leung Tsz-wing
FTU
  • Community Officer
2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
57 GC Kowloon West

Scott Leung
KWND Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
58 GC Hong Kong Island East Leung Hei DAB
  • Member of the Legislative Council
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
59 EC Election Committee Kenneth Leung Yuk-wai Nonpartisan Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
60 EC Election Committee Chan Yuet-ming Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
61 EC Election Committee

Rock Chen
Nonpartisan
  • Investment Manager
  • Director of a company
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
62 EC Election Committee Chan Pui-leung Nonpartisan
  • Member of the Legislative Council
  • General Manager of an insurance limited company
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
63 FC HKSAR Deputies to the National People's Congress, HKSAR Members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Representatives of Relevant National Organisations

Chan Yung
DAB
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Deputy to the National People's Congress
  • Member of the Legislative Council
  • Registered social worker
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
64 FC Textiles and Garment Sunny Tan Nonpartisan
  • Member of the Legislative Council
  • Businessman
2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
65 EC Election Committee Judy Chan NPP Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
66 EC Election Committee Maggie Chan Nonpartisan
  • Solicitor
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
67 EC Election Committee Chan Siu-hung Nonpartisan
  • Engineer
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
68 EC Election Committee

Chan Hoi-yan
Nonpartisan
  • Member of the Legislative Council
  • Director of a company
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
69 GC New Territories South West

Chan Wing-yan
FTU
  • Staff member in a trade union
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
70 GC Hong Kong Island West

Chan Hok-fung
DAB
  • Banking
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
71 GC New Territories North Gary Zhang New Prospect Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
72 EC Election Committee Lillian Kwok Ling-lai DAB
  • Registered Teacher
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
73 EC Election Committee Benson Luk Hon-man BPA
  • Chief Strategy Officer
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
74 EC Election Committee Stephen Wong Nonpartisan
  • Senior Vice President & Executive Director of a public policy institute
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
75 FC Import and Export

Kennedy Wong
DAB
  • Managing Partner of a law firm
2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
76 FC Accountancy Wong Chun-sek DAB
  • Fellow Certified Public Accountant (Practising)
2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
77 EC Election Committee Kingsley Wong FTU
  • Chairman of the HKFTU
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
78 GC Kowloon Central Kitson Yang Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
79 EC Election Committee

Peter Douglas Koon
Nonpartisan
  • Clergy
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
80 EC Election Committee

Tang Fei
FEW
  • Principal of a secondary school
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
81 GC Kowloon East

Tang Ka-piu
FTU Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
82 EC Election Committee

Lai Tung-kwok
NPP Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
83 EC Election Committee

Lau Chi-pang
Nonpartisan
  • Associate Vice President of a university
  • Professor of a university
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
84 FC Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication

Kenneth Fok
Nonpartisan
  • Merchant
2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
85 FC Real Estate and Construction Louis Loong Nonpartisan
  • Business Executive
2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
86 GC Kowloon East Ngan Man-yu DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
87 EC Election Committee Kan Wai-mun Nonpartisan
  • Solicitor/General Counsel
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
88 EC Election Committee Tan Yueheng Nonpartisan
  • Chairman of a bank holding company
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
89 EC Election Committee So Cheung-wing Nonpartisan Nil 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
90 FC Commercial (Third) Erik Yim Nonpartisan
  • Senior Executive of a listed company
  • Member of an HKTDC advisory committee
2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
Sources:[28]

Geographical constituencies

The GC seats are returned by universal suffrage. The voting system adopted in the electoral districts is a system of party-list proportional representation, with seats allocated by the largest remainder method using the Hare quota as the quota for election.

The party-list proportional representation system is the most widely used form of proportional representation systems to facilitate the formation of a representative legislature. There were 3.37 million registered electors in the 2008 election.

Geographical constituencies No. of Seats
1998 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016
Hong Kong Island 4 5 6 6 7 6
Kowloon East 3 4 5 4 5 5
Kowloon West 3 4 4 5 5 6
New Territories East 5 5 7 7 9 9
New Territories West 5 6 8 8 9 9
Total 20 24 30 30 35 35

Functional constituencies

There are 35 functional constituencies (FCs) in the Legislative Council, representing various sectors in the community which are considered as playing a crucial role in the development of Hong Kong.

Since the 2012 election, 27 FCs have returned one member, the Labour FC has returned three members and District Council (second) FC has returned five members, giving a total of 35 FC seats.

A simple plurality system is adopted for 23 FCs, with an eligible voter casting one vote only. The exceptions are the Labour FC, in which a voter may cast up to three votes,[29] and the Heung Yee Kuk, Agriculture and Fisheries, Insurance, and Transport FCs where a preferential elimination system is used due to the small number of voters. In the preferential elimination system, a voter must indicate preferences rather than approval/disapproval or a single choice. District Council (Second) uses the same voting rule in Geographical constituencies for the 5 seats.

As of 2016, neither the Heung Yee Kuk nor the Commercial (Second) FCs have held an actual election, as only one candidate has stood for each FC in every election since their establishment in 1991 and 1985, respectively.

Committee system

In order to perform the important functions of scrutinizing bills, approving public expenditure and monitoring Government's work, a committee system is established.[30]

Standing Committees

Panels

President of the Legislative Council

Main article: President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Andrew Leung, the incumbent President of the Legislative Council.
Andrew Leung, the incumbent President of the Legislative Council.

From the establishment of the Legislative Council in 1843 to 1993, the Governor was the President and a member of the council, and until 1917 the Governor was required to act with the advice but not necessary the consent of the Legislative Council. The Letters Patent of 1917 changed such practice by requiring the Governor to act "with advice and consent" of the Legislative Council.

Under the Basic Law (Article 72), the President has the powers and functions to preside over meetings, decide on the agenda, including giving priority to government bills for inclusion in the agenda, decide on the time of meetings, call special sessions during the recess, call emergency sessions on the request of the Chief Executive, and exercise other powers and functions as prescribed in the rules of procedure of the Legislative Council. However, the president of the legislative council may not vote in most situations regarding government bills, and is encouraged to remain impartial towards all matters in the LegCo. The President of the Legislative Council has to meet the eligibility requirements set out in the Basic Law that he or she shall be a Chinese citizen of not less than 40 years of age, who is a permanent resident of the HKSAR with no right of abode in any foreign country and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years.[32]

The President is elected by and from among Council members. The first President (1997–2008) was Rita Fan; the incumbent president, elected in 2016, is Andrew Leung of the pro-Beijing Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong.

Primacy of President

In a controversial move directed at reining in democratic legislators (most of whom were elected by universal suffrage and six of whose seats had been vacated by a controversial court order of disqualification), amendments to the Rules of Procedure were passed on 15 December 2017 giving sweeping powers to the President to control the business of the legislature. Among them is the power to vet proposed motions and amendments to bills, require legislators to explain them and to reject or merge them. Prior notice must be given of any notice of motion and the President may reconvene the chamber immediately after any failure to meet quorum.[33]

Procedure

The quorum for meetings of the council is 20, i.e. only 28 per cent of membership, having been reduced from 35 on 15 December 2017.[33]

Passing of government bills requires only a simple majority whereas private members' bills and motions have to be passed by majorities of members in both the geographical and functional constituencies independently.[34] After the 15 December 2017 amendments to procedure, the setting up of investigative committees requires 35 signatures of members, effectively blocking democrat-sponsored scrutiny of government action.[33]

Amendments to the Basic Law require a two-thirds vote in the Legislative Council, without a specific requirement in each group of constituencies. After passing the council, the Basic Law amendment must obtain the consent of two-thirds of Hong Kong's deputies to the National People's Congress, and also the Chief Executive (the Chief Executive is vested with the veto power).[11]

Traditionally, the President does not vote. However, this convention is not a constitutional requirement.[35]

Elections of the Legislative Council

Main article: 2016 Hong Kong legislative election

The latest election was held on 4 September 2016. The pro-Beijing camp retained control of the Legislative Council with the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) as the largest party.

Vote share of the Legislative Council elections by party since 1991.
Vote share of the Legislative Council elections by party since 1991.

Seating arrangement

Seating plan of the Legislative Council.
Seating plan of the Legislative Council.

In a typical Council meeting in the old Legislative chamber, members were seated to the left and front of the President's chair in the Chamber patterned after the adversarial layout of Westminster system legislatures. The three rows to the right were reserved for government officials and other people attending the meetings.[36]

At the new LegCo site at Tamar, members sit facing the President (and council officers) in a hemicycle seating arrangement.

At present, the Secretariat, headed by the Secretary General, provides administrative support and services to the Council through its ten divisions. In addition to being the chief executive of the Secretariat, the Secretary General is also the Clerk to the Legislative Council responsible for advising the President on all matters relating to the procedure of the council.[37]

List of Legislative Council compositions

Composition of political bloc since 1985 election:   Pro-Beijing camp    Conservative camp (later merged into Pro-Beijing camp)   Pro-democracy camp   Localist groups   Unaffiliated members   Ex-officio members
Composition of political bloc since 1985 election:
  Conservative camp (later merged into Pro-Beijing camp)
  Unaffiliated members
  Ex-officio members

The following chart lists the composition of the Legislative Councils of Hong Kong since the Special Administrative Region (SAR) period from 1998, the composition and diagram indicate the seats controlled by the camps (green for the pro-democracy camp and red for the pro-Beijing camp) at the beginning of the sessions.

Term (Election) Diagram Composition
(by alignment)
President DAB FTU BPA NPP Lib DP Civ
1st (1998)
20:40




Rita Fan
(Independent)
9 10 13
2nd (2000)
21:39




Rita Fan
(Independent)
11 8 12
3rd (2004)
25:35




Rita Fan
(Independent)
12 1 10 9
4th (2008)
23:37




Jasper Tsang
(DAB)
13 1 7 8 5
5th (2012)
27:1:42




Jasper Tsang
(DAB)
13 6 2 5 6 6
6th (2016)
29:1:40




Andrew Leung
(BPA)
12 5 7 3 4 7 6
7th (2021)
1:89




Andrew Leung
(BPA)
19 8 7 5 4

Officers of the Legislative Council

Main article: List of Clerks of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Services to members were originally provided by the Office of the Clerk to the Legislative Council which was part of the Government Secretariat. Additional support later came from other administrative units, i.e. the Unofficial Members of the Executive and Legislative Councils (UMELCO) Secretariat and its variants, in consideration of the gradually rising volume of work in Council business.

With the establishment of UMELCO in 1963, public officers were seconded to UMELCO to assist members to deal with public complaints and build up public relations with the local community. During their secondments, public officers took instructions only from Council members. The practice remained when the Office of the Members of the Executive and Legislative Councils (OMELCO) replaced UMELCO in 1986.[38]

In 1991, the OMELCO Secretariat was incorporated. As a result of the complete separation of membership of the Executive and Legislative Councils, OMELCO was renamed the Office of Members of Legislative Council (OMLEGCO).

The Legislative Council Commission, a statutory body independent of the Government, was established under The Legislative Council Commission Ordinance on 1 April 1994. The Commission integrated the administrative support and services to the council by the Office of the Clerk to the Legislative Council and the OMLEGCO Secretariat into an independent Legislative Council Secretariat. The Commission replaced all civil servants by contract staff in the 1994–1995 session.[39]

See also

References

  1. ^ "2021 Legislative Council General Election - Election Brief". Elections.gov.hk.
  2. ^ "Hong Kong downgraded from 'flawed democracy' to 'hybrid regime' as city drops 12 places in Economist's democracy index". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. 3 February 2021. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  3. ^ "LegCo Today". Legislative Council Commission.
  4. ^ a b c d "History of the Legislature". Legislative Council. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Hong Kong electoral reform: LegCo passes 'patriots' law". BBC News. 27 May 2021. ... the Legislative Council (LegCo), which has been dominated by pro-Beijing lawmakers since a mass opposition walkout last year.... While overall seats will increase from 70 to 90, the number of directly elected representatives will fall from 35 to 20.
  6. ^ "A Companion to the history, rules and practices of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - Part I: An introduction to the Legislative Council, its history, organisation and procedure - Chapter 3". Legislative Council Commission.
  7. ^ "HISTORY OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL". Legislative Council of Hong Kong.
  8. ^ "Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - The Establishment of the Provisional Legislative Council". The Legislative Council Commission.
  9. ^ Cheung, Gary; Wong, Albert & Fung, Fanny (25 June 2010) "Cheers and jeers for political reform vote", South China Morning Post
  10. ^ "Hong Kong legislators reject China-backed reform bill". CNN. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d "Basic Law" (PDF). Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau. May 2021. pp. 106–107, 217–224.
  12. ^ "BREAKING: Beijing's legislature passes unanimous ruling to interpret Hong Kong's mini-constitution over oath saga". Hong Kong Free Press. 7 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Hong Kong lawmaker disqualification ruling 'opens huge floodgate', lawyers say". South China Morning Post. 15 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Hong Kong's leader rejects foreign criticism over barring of democracy activist Agnes Chow from legislative by-election". South China Morning Post. 30 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Ousted pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker Lau Siu-lai barred from Kowloon West Legislative Council by-election". South China Morning Post. 12 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Hong Kong protesters smash up legislature in direct challenge to China". Reuters. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Beijing decides current Hong Kong lawmakers can remain on until postponed election". Hong Kong Free Press. 11 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Hong Kong's pro-democracy legislators to resign en masse". Aljazeera. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Xi Focus: Xi stresses "patriots governing Hong Kong" when hearing Carrie Lam's work report". Xinhua. 27 January 2021. Archived from the original on 22 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  20. ^ "China approves Hong Kong election overhaul bill". Nikkei Asia. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  21. ^ a b "December date for Hong Kong Legco polls, key role for new chief convenor". South China Morning Post. 30 March 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021. ... the Election Committee, which was expected to be filled by Beijing-loyalists.... The new members will include patriotic groups and members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) to further reinforce the pro-establishment camp’s control of the body.
  22. ^ "China formalises sweeping electoral shake-up for Hong Kong, demands loyalty". Reuters. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  23. ^ "Heritage Impact Assessment" (PDF). LWK Conservation Ltd. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  24. ^ "The Legislative Council Building" (PDF). Legislative Council Secretariat.
  25. ^ "Taking of Legislative Council Oath" (pdf). Legislative Council of Hong Kong. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  26. ^ "Tik Chi-yuen becomes only non-establishment elected to LegCo". The Standard. 20 December 2021. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  27. ^ Ni, Vincent; Kwan, Rhoda (20 December 2021). "West raises concerns after pro-Beijing candidates sweep Hong Kong elections". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  28. ^ "Members' Biographies". Legislative Council of Hong Kong. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  29. ^ Chap. 542, s. 51 of the Legislative Council Ordinance: "an elector may vote for as many candidates as there are vacancies and no more"
  30. ^ "LegCo Today". Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Administrative Region. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  31. ^ Public Accounts Committee (Hong Kong) https://www.legco.gov.hk/general/english/pac/pac_1620.htm
  32. ^ "President of the Legislative Council". The Legislative Council Commission.
  33. ^ a b c Cheng, Kris (15 December 2017). "Hong Kong legislature passes controversial house rule changes taking powers from lawmakers". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  34. ^ Legislative Council Secretariat Education Service Team (January 2022). "HOW LAWS ARE MADE" (PDF). Legislative Council in Brief No. 7.
  35. ^ Michael DeGolyer (24 July 2008). "Legco dice loaded from the start" Archived 7 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine. The Standard.
  36. ^ "Knowledge of the Legislative Council". Legislative Council Commission.
  37. ^ "Legislative Council Secretariat". The Legislative Council Commission.
  38. ^ "Possible duplication of work of the LegCo Redress System with the work of The Office of The Ombudsman" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hong Kong.
  39. ^ "The Legislative Council Commission". Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

Further reading