Hong Kong reform package rejected as pro-Beijing camp walk out in ‘miscommunication’

South China Morning Post
Date: 18 June, 2015
By: Staff Reporters

Pro-Beijing legislators (from left) Ip Kwok-him, Starry Lee Wai-king, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, Lau Wong-fat, Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, and Tam Yiu-chung meet the press after the Hong Kong reform package rejected; as pro-Beijing lawmakers walk out from the Legco Chamber before vote. Photo: K.Y. ChengHong Kong’s legislature this afternoon blocked the government’s electoral reform plan for the 2017 chief executive election as members of the pro-Beijing camp walked out in the mistaken belief the ballot would be adjourned.

Only eight lawmakers voted for the proposal after about 30 members of the pro-establishment camp walked out of the chamber less than a minute before the vote when Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, vice-chairman of the Business and Professionals Alliance, asked his colleagues to wait for rural kingpin Lau Wong-fat, also an alliance legislator.

With the bell ringing signalling lawmakers to cast their ballot, Lam stood up and asked for an adjournment “for further discussion”, but Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing refused.

Pro-government lawmakers leave the chamber before the vote. Photo: Dickson Lee

Members of the central and local governments’ staunchest supporters from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Federation of Trade Unions and the alliance then walked out.

Prompted by several pan-democrats, Tsang decided the quorum was met for the vote to proceed and, as widely expected, all 27-pan-democractic lawmakers voted against the proposal following 10 hours of debate across yesterday and this morning. A 28th “no” vote was cast by pro-establishment lawmaker and medical representative Dr Leung Ka-lau. No one abstained.

Explaining the walk-out, DAB Chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king said her party demanded a break before voting because they wanted to wait for Lau Wong-fat, who has been ill but wanted to vote.

“We wanted to be a full-team when we voted but due to some miscommunication, our votes were not reflected in Legco,” she said, adding that she was saddened by the result.

The only eight pro-establishment lawmakers who voted for the reform package were the five lawmakers from the Liberal Party, Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Chan Yuen-han, and independents Lam Tai-fai and Chan Kin-por.     [FULL  STORY]

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