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Legislative Council of Hong Kong Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legislative_Council_of_Hong_Kong

Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

香港特別行政區立法會
7th Legislative Council
Logo
Type
Type
History
Founded
  • 26 June 1843; 179 years ago (1843-06-26) (colonial)
  • 25 January 1997; 25 years ago (1997-01-25) (provisional)
  • 1 July 1998; 24 years ago (1998-07-01) (HKSAR)
Preceded byProvisional Legislative Council
Leadership
Andrew Leung, BPA
since 12 October 2016
Structure
Seats90
7th Legislative Council of Hong Kong (1 July 2022 composition).svg
Political groups
Pro-Beijing (85)
  •   DAB (18)
  •   FTU (7)
  •   BPA (7)
  •   NPP (5)
  •   Liberal (4)
  •   FEW (2)
  •   FLU (2)
  •   Roundtable (1)
  •   PP (1)
  •   KWND (1)
  •   New Prospect (1)
  •   New Forum (1)
  •   Independent (35)
Unaligned (1)
Vacant (4)
  •   Vacant (4)
Elections
Last general election
19 December 2021
Next general election
2025
Meeting place
Legislative Council Complex 2011 Chamber.JPG
Legislative Council Complex, 1 Legislative Council Road, Tamar, Central & Western District, Hong Kong
Website
www.legco.gov.hk
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
LegCo.jpg
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
Central Government Offices, home to Legco from the 1950s to 1985
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 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 also has 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]

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[edit]

Colonial period[edit]

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 seated 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 for 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 Hong Kong sovereignty from Britain to China.

Before the 1997 transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong, rather than working through the 1995 elected colonial legislature, the government of China, through the Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), unilaterally established, in 1996, the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) in Shenzhen, under the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China.[8] The Provisional Legislative Council, seen as unconstitutional by the British authorities and boycotted by most pro-democracy legislators, was in operation from 25 January 1997 to 30 June 1998 and held its meetings in Shenzhen until 30 June 1997, when the PLC moved to Hong Kong and replaced the elected legislature from the 1997 handover of Hong Kong until the 1998 Hong Kong legislative election. Since 2000, the terms of the Legislative Council have been four years, with the exception of the 6th Legislative Council.

Early SAR years[edit]

The current HKSAR Legislative Council was established on 1 October 1998 under the Hong Kong Basic Law. The first meeting of the council was held in July of the same year. Five subsequent Legislative Council elections have been held — the most recent 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 away 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 interests — 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 fewer votes than the pro-democracy bloc in the direct elections.

Article 68 of the Hong Kong Basic Law states that 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 a dominant issue in Hong Kong politics.

In 2010, the government's constitutional reform proposal became the first and only constitutional move to have been 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; adding five 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 2014 Hong Kong electoral reform proposal, which suggested the electoral method of the Legislative Council remain unchanged, was vetoed in 2015, after a massive occupation protest demanding universal suffrage — often dubbed the "Umbrella Revolution" — 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 two pro-independence legislators from assuming public office pursuant to Article 104.[11][12] Four more pro-democracy and localist legislators were unseated in subsequent 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[edit]

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 authorised 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[edit]

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[edit]

Changes to the composition of the Legislative Council:
2016 composition (70 seats)
  Directly elected geographical constituencies (35)
  Indirectly elected trade-based functional constituencies (30)
2021 composition (90 seats)
  Directly elected geographical constituencies (20)
  Indirectly elected trade-based functional constituencies (30)
  Newly created Election Committee constituency (40)

Under the 2021 Hong Kong electoral changes initiated by the National People's Congress, the Legislative Council is now composed of 90 members returned from 3 constituencies: the Election Committee Constituency, Functional Constituencies and Geographical Constituencies by popular vote.

Composition of the Legislative Council (2022-)
No. of Members Returned by Voting Method No. of Voters (2021)
Election Committee Constituency 40 Members of the Election Committee Plurality block voting 1,448
Functional Constituencies 30 Members of specified associations or professions First-past-the-post voting / Plurality block voting 210,675 (individual voters);

8,579 (body voters)

Geographical Constituencies 20 Direct elections Single non-transferable vote 4,472,863

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[26]
Constituency Member returned Party Assumed office Camp Notes
President of the Legislative Council
01 FC Industrial (First) Andrew Leung 2017.jpg
Andrew Leung
BPA 2004 Pro-Beijing Seat held
Other members
02 FC Catering Cheung Yu-yan in 2017 (cropped).jpg
Tommy Cheung
Liberal 2000 Pro-Beijing Seat held
03 FC Commercial (First) Jeffrey Lam.jpg
Jeffrey Lam
BPA 2004 Pro-Beijing Seat held
04 GC Kowloon Central Starry Lee Wai-king 2016.jpg
Starry Lee
DAB 2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for District Council (Second) in the last Legislative Council
05 GC New Territories North East Chan Hak-kan.png
Gary Chan
DAB 2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories East in the last Legislative Council
06 FC Insurance Chan Kin-por 2020.png
Chan Kin-por
Nonpartisan 2008 Pro-Beijing Seat held
07 EC Election Committee Priscilla Leung.jpg
Priscilla Leung
BPA 2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Kowloon West in the last Legislative Council
08 GC Hong Kong Island West Regina-ip-drops-out-8.jpg
Regina Ip
NPP 2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Hong Kong Island in the last Legislative Council
09 EC Election Committee Paul Tse Wai-chun 2021.png
Paul Tse
Independent 2008 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Kowloon East in the last Legislative Council
10 GC New Territories North West 香港建制派議員對逃犯修例意見不一 田北辰籲暫緩修例 (cropped).jpg
Michael Tien
Roundtable 2012 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Hong Kong Island in the last Legislative Council
11 FC Agriculture and Fisheries Steven Ho Chun-yin.png
Steven Ho
DAB 2012 Pro-Beijing Seat held
12 FC Transport Frankie Yick.jpg
Frankie Yick
Liberal 2012 Pro-Beijing Seat held
13 EC Election Committee Ma Fung-kwok in 2019 (cropped).png
Ma Fung-kwok
New Century Forum 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 2015.jpg
Ben Chan
DAB 2012 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories West in the last Legislative Council
- EC Election Committee Alice Mak Mei-kuen.png
Alice Mak
FTU 2012 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories West in the last Legislative Council
Resigned on 19 June 2022
15 FC Labour Kwok Wai-keung.tif
Kwok Wai-keung
FTU 2012 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running; stood for Hong Kong Island in the last Legislative Council
16 EC Election Committee Elizabeth Quat cut.jpg
Elizabeth Quat
DAB 2012 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories East in the last Legislative Council
17 FC Commercial (Second) Pro-establishment-legislators-vow-to-block-oath (cropped).jpg
Martin Liao
Nonpartisan 2012 Pro-Beijing Seat held
18 FC Engineering Lo Wai-kwok 2016.jpg
Lo Wai-kwok
BPA 2012 Pro-Beijing Seat held
19 FC Industrial (Second) Ng Wing-ka 2019 (cropped).jpg
Jimmy Ng
BPA 2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
20 EC Election Committee JuniusHo20180425 (cropped).jpg
Junius Ho
Independent 2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories West in the last Legislative Council
21 GC New Territories North West Holdenchow.jpg
Holden Chow
DAB 2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for District Council (Second) in the last Legislative Council
22 FC Wholesale and Retail Shiu Ka-fai in 2019.png
Peter Shiu
Liberal 2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
23 EC Election Committee 不要將《逃犯條例》修法草案直接送交立法會大會.jpg
Eunice Yung
NPP/ Civil Force 2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for New Territories East in the last Legislative Council
24 FC Finance Chan Chun-ying 2019 (cropped).jpg
Chan Chun-ying
Nonpartisan 2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
- EC Election Committee Horace Cheung.jpg
Horace Cheung
DAB 2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Hong Kong Island in the last Legislative Council
Resigned on 19 June 2022
25 EC Election Committee Michael Luk Chung-hung 2018 (cropped).jpg
Luk Chung-hung
FTU 2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Labour in the last Legislative Council
26 GC New Territories North LAU Kwok-fan 2012.jpg
Lau Kwok-fan
DAB 2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for District Council (First) in the last Legislative Council
27 FC Heung Yee Kuk Kenneth Lau.png
Kenneth Lau
BPA 2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
28 GC Kowloon West 香港立法會補選 民主派未奪回分組否決權5 (cropped).jpg
Vincent Cheng
DAB 2016 Pro-Beijing New constituency; stood for Kowloon West in the last Legislative Council
29 FC Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape Tony Tse Wai-chuen.png
Tony Tse
Nonpartisan 2016 Pro-Beijing Seat held
30 EC Election Committee Doreen Kong Yuk-foon (cropped).jpg
Doreen Kong
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
31 FC Education Chu Kwok-keung FEW 2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
32 GC New Territories South East Li Sai-wing 2019 (cropped).jpg
Stanley Li
DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
33 EC Election Committee Hoey Simon Lee 20201104 (cropped).png
Hoey Simon Lee
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
34 FC Financial Services Robert Lee Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
35 GC New Territories North East framless
Dominic Lee
NPP 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
36 EC Election Committee Lee Chun-keung Liberal 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
37 FC Social Welfare Tik Chi-yuen 2016 (cropped).jpg
Tik Chi-yuen
Third Side 2022 Non-establishment [27][28] Seat gain
38 GC Hong Kong Island East Ng Chau-pei.JPG
Ng Chau-pei
FTU 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
39 EC Election Committee Johnny Ng Kit-chong (cropped).jpg
Johnny Ng
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
40 FC Labour Chau Siu-chung FLU 2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
41 EC Election Committee Chow Man-kong 20210828 (cropped).png
Chow Man-kong
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
42 FC Medical and Health Services David Lam Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
43 EC Election Committee Lam Chun-sing FLU 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
44 GC New Territories South East Connie Lam Professional Power 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
45 EC Election Committee Nixie Lam (cropped).png
Nixie Lam
DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
- EC Election Committee Nelson Lam Chi-yuen's portrait (cropped).png
Nelson Lam
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
Resigned on 19 June 2022
46 EC Election Committee Dennis Lam Shun-chiu 2021.jpg
Dennis Lam
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
47 FC Legal Ambrose Lam Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
48 EC Election Committee Lam Siu-lo 2018 (cropped).jpg
Andrew Lam
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
49 FC Technology and Innovation Duncan Chiu Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
50 FC Tourism Yiu Pak-leung Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
51 EC Election Committee Wendy Hong Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
- EC Election Committee
Principal Officials of Sixth-term HKSAR Government 20220619 voa.jpg

Dong Sun
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
Resigned on 19 June 2022
52 FC Labour Dennis Leung FTU.jpg
Leung Tsz-wing
FTU 2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
53 GC Kowloon West framless
Scott Leung
KWND 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
54 GC Hong Kong Island East Leung Hei in 2021 (cropped).jpg
Leung Hei
DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
55 EC Election Committee Kenneth Leung Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
56 EC Election Committee Chan Yuet-ming Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
57 EC Election Committee 陳仲尼.jpg
Rock Chen
DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
58 EC Election Committee Chan Pui-leung Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
59 FC HKSAR members of NPC and CPPCC, representatives of national organisations Chan Yung.png
Chan Yung
DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
60 FC Textiles and Garment Sunny Tan Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
61 EC Election Committee Chan Ka-pui in 2018 (cropped).jpg
Judy Chan
NPP 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
62 EC Election Committee Chan Man-ki in 2019 (cropped).jpg
Maggie Chan
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
63 EC Election Committee Chan Siu-hung 2021.jpg
Chan Siu-hung
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
64 EC Election Committee Democrats-fail-to-regain-veto-power-7 (cropped).jpg
Chan Hoi-yan
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
65 GC New Territories South West Chan Wing-yan 2022 (cropped).png
Chan Wing-yan
FTU 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
66 GC Hong Kong Island West Chan Hok-fung 2016 (cropped).jpg
Chan Hok-fung
DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
67 GC New Territories North Gary Zhang New Prospect 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
68 EC Election Committee Lillian Kwok DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
69 EC Election Committee Benson Luk BPA 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
70 EC Election Committee Stephen Wong 2014 (cropped).png
Stephen Wong
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
71 FC Import and Export Kennedy Wong 2020.jpg
Kennedy Wong
DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
72 FC Accountancy Edmund Wong DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing Seat gain
73 EC Election Committee Kingsley Wong Kwok 2022.jpg
Kingsley Wong
FTU 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
74 GC Kowloon Central Kitson Yang Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
75 EC Election Committee Peter Douglas Koon.png
Peter Douglas Koon
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
76 EC Election Committee 鄧飛.jpg
Tang Fei
FEW 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
77 GC Kowloon East Tang Ka-piu 2018 (cropped).jpg
Tang Ka-piu
FTU 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
78 EC Election Committee Lai Tung-kwok.jpg
Lai Tung-kwok
NPP 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
79 EC Election Committee Prof LAU, Chi-pang, JP 20190727 (cropped).png
Lau Chi-pang
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
80 FC Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication Kenneth Fok 2019 (cropped).png
Kenneth Fok
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
81 FC Real Estate and Construction Louis Loong Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing Previous incumbent not running
82 GC Kowloon East 颜汶羽2020.jpg
Ngan Man-yu
DAB 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
83 EC Election Committee Carmen Kan Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
84 EC Election Committee Tan Yueheng Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
85 EC Election Committee So Cheung-wing 2020.jpg
So Cheung-wing
Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency
86 FC Commercial (Third) Erik Yim Nonpartisan 2022 Pro-Beijing New constituency

Geographical constituencies[edit]

The Geographical Constituency (GC) seats are returned by universal suffrage. 20 seats of the Legislative Council are returned by GCs through single non-transferable vote with a district magnitude of 2 ("binomial system"). The binomial system was instituted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in its amendment to Annex 2 of the Basic Law on 30 March 2021.

Geographical constituency Number of voters[29] Number of seats Voting system
Hong Kong Island East 424,849 2 Single non-transferable vote
Hong Kong Island West 374,795
Kowloon East 475,223
Kowloon West 381,484
Kowloon Central 454,595
New Territories South East 472,751
New Territories North 431,604
New Territories North West 468,752
New Territories South West 510,558
New Territories North East 478,252

Geographical constituencies were first introduced in Hong Kong's first legislative election with direct elections in 1991. The electoral system and boundaries of GCs have since changed:

Election Year Voting system Number of constituencies District magnitude Total number of GC seats Proportion of LegCo seats
1991 Plurality-at-large 9 constituencies 2 seats 18 seats 29.5%
1995 First-past-the-post voting 20 constituencies 1 seat 20 seats 33.3%
1998 Proportional representation

(Largest remainder method: Hare quota)

5 constituencies 3-9 seats 20 seats 33.3%
2000 24 seats 40%
2004 30 seats 50%
2008
2012 35 seats 50%
2016
2021 Single non-transferable vote 10 constituencies 2 seats 20 seats 22.2%

Between 1998 and 2016, the voting system adopted in GCs 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.

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[edit]

Under the 2021 Hong Kong electoral changes, 28 functional constituencies (FC) return 30 members. The Labour Functional Constituency returns three members by block voting. The other FCs return one member each with first-past-the-post voting.

The 2021 electoral reform saw the dissolution of District Council (First) and District Council (Second) FCs. 3 existing FCs were reconstituted: the Information Technology FC reorganised as the Technology & Innovation FC; the Medical FC and Health Services FC combined to form the Medical and Health Services FC. 2 new FCs were established, namely the Commercial (Third) and the 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 FCs. Functional constituencies are now principally elected by body votes; the number of FCs with individual votes were reduced, together with elimination of mixed individual and body voting systems.

Functional constituency Number of registered electors
Bodies Individuals Total
1 Heung Yee Kuk   161 161
2 Agriculture and Fisheries 176   176
3 Insurance 126   126
4 Transport 223   223
5 Education   85,117 85,117
6 Legal   7,549 7,549
7 Accountancy   27,778 27,778
8 Medical And Health Service   55,523 55,523
9 Engineering   10,772 10,772
10 Architectural, Surveying and Planning   9,123 9,123
11 Labour 697   697
12 Social Welfare   13,974 13,974
13 Real Estate and Construction 463   463
14 Tourism 192   192
15 Commercial (First) 1,041   1,041
16 Commercial (Second) 421   421
17 Commercial (Third) 288   288
18 Industrial (First) 421   421
19 Industrial (Second) 592   592
20 Finance 114   114
21 Financial Services 760   760
22 Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication 257   257
23 Import and Export 231   231
24 Textiles and Garment 348   348
25 Wholesale and Retail 2,015   2,015
26 Technology and Innovation 73   73
27 Catering 141   141
28 HKSAR members of NPC and CPPCC, representatives of national organisations   678 678
Total 8,579 210,675 219,254

The following FCs were abolished in the 2021 electoral reform.

Between 1998 and 2016, 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.

Before the 2021 elections, 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.

Election Committee Constituency[edit]

The Election Committee constituency was one of the three constituencies designed in the Basic Law of Hong Kong next to the directly elected geographical constituencies and the indirectly elected functional constituencies for the first and second-term Legislative Council in the early SAR period. With the last British Governor Chris Patten's electoral reform, the ECC was composed of all elected District Board members who had been elected in 1994. The Single Transferable Vote system was used in the 1995 election.[31]

After the handover of Hong Kong, the ECC was allocated 10 seats out of the total 60 seats in the SAR Legislative Council, comprising all members of the Election Committee which also elected the Chief Executive every five years. The size of the constituency reduced to six seats in 2000 and was entirely abolished and replaced by the directly elected geographical constituency seats in the 2004 election. The plurality-at-large voting system was used in 1998 and 2000.

In the 2021 electoral overhaul, the Election Committee constituency was reintroduced, taking 40 of the 90 seats, almost half, of the Legislative Council with plurality-at-large voting system. The electorate is composed of all newly expanded 1,500 members in the Election Committee.

Committee system[edit]

In order to perform the important functions of scrutinizing bills, approving public expenditure and monitoring Government's work, a committee system is established.[32]

Standing Committees[edit]

  • House Committee
    • Parliamentary Liaison Subcommittee
  • Finance Committee
    • Establishment Subcommittee
    • Public Works Subcommittee
  • Public Accounts Committee[33]
  • Committee on Members' Interests
  • Committee on Rules of Procedure

Panels[edit]

  • Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services
  • Panel on Commerce and Industry
  • Panel on Constitutional Affairs
  • Panel on Development
  • Panel on Economic Development
  • Panel on Education
  • Panel on Environmental Affairs
  • Panel on Financial Affairs
  • Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene
  • Panel on Health Services
  • Panel on Home Affairs
  • Panel on Housing
  • Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting
  • Panel on Manpower
  • Panel on Public Service
  • Panel on Security
  • Panel on Transport
  • Panel on Welfare Services

President of the Legislative Council[edit]

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.[34]

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[edit]

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.[35]

Procedure[edit]

The quorum for meetings of the council is half of all LegCo Members; while the quorum for meetings of a committee of the whole during second reading of bills is 20, i.e. only 22 per cent of membership, having been reduced from 35 on 15 December 2017.[36]

After the 15 December 2017 amendments to procedure, a petition is to be submitted to the House Committee only with at least 35 signatures of members, effectively blocking democrat-sponsored scrutiny of government action.[35]

Passage of Bills[edit]

Passage of bills introduced by the government require only a simple majority of votes of the members of the Legislative Council present; whereas passage of motions, bills or amendments to government bills introduced by individual LegCo members shall require a simple majority of votes of each of the two groups of members present: namely members returned by the Election Committee and members returned by functional constituencies and geographical constituencies.[37]

Motions on 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). The National People's Congress reserves the sole power to amend the Basic Law.[11]

Traditionally, the President does not vote. However, this convention is not a constitutional requirement.[38]

Elections of the Legislative Council[edit]

Legislative Council general elections are held every four years in accordance with Article 69 of the Basic Law of HKSAR. The most recent election was held on 19 December 2021. The pro-Beijing camp had absolute 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.

Seating arrangement[edit]

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.[39]

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.[40]

List of Legislative Council compositions[edit]

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

The following lists the composition of Legislative Council seats since its establishment:[41]


Officials
[note 1]

Appointed
unofficials

Elected by
Electoral College or
Election Committee

Elected by
functional
constituencies

Elected by
geographical
constituencies

Total number
of LegCo
Members

1843- 4 - - - - 4
1844- 6 - - - - 6
1845- 4 - - - - 4
1850- 6 2 - - - 8
1857- 6 3 - - - 9
1858- 7 3 - - - 10
1868- 6 4 - - - 10
1883- 7 5 - - - 12
1896- 8 6 - - - 14
1917- 8 6 - - - 14
1928- 10 8 - - - 18
1964- 13 13 - - - 26
1972- 15 15 - - - 30
1976- 23 23 - - - 46
1977- 25 25 - - - 50
1980- 27 27 - - - 54
1983- 29 29 - - - 58
1984- 29 32 - - - 61
1985-88 11 22 12 12 - 57
1988-91 11 20 12 14 - 57
1991-95 4 18 - 21 18 61
1995-97 - - 10 30 20 60
PLC - - 60 - - 60
1998-00 - - 10 30 20 60
2000-04 - - 6 30 24 60
2004-08 - - - 30 30 60
2008-12 - - - 30 30 60
2012-16 - - - 35 35 70
2016-21 - - - 35 35 70
2022-25 - - 40 30 20 90

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) 1998 Hong Kong legislative election result by party.svg 20:40




Rita Fan
(Independent)
9 10 13
2nd (2000) 2000 Hong Kong legislative election result by party.svg 21:39




Rita Fan
(Independent)
11 8 12
3rd (2004) 2004 Hong Kong legislative election result by party.svg 25:35




Rita Fan
(Independent)
12 1 10 9
4th (2008) 2008 Hong Kong legislative election result by party.svg 23:37




Jasper Tsang
(DAB)
13 1 7 8 5
5th (2012) 5th Legislative Council of Hong Kong seat composition by party.svg 27:1:42




Jasper Tsang
(DAB)
13 6 2 5 6 6
6th (2016) 6th Legislative Council of Hong Kong seat composition by party.svg 29:1:40




Andrew Leung
(BPA)
12 5 7 3 4 7 6
7th (2021) 2021 Hong Kong legislative election result by party.svg 1:89




Andrew Leung
(BPA)
19 8 7 5 4

Officers of the Legislative Council[edit]

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.[42]

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.[43]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ including the Governor

References[edit]

  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. ^ "Members' Biographies". Legislative Council of Hong Kong. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  27. ^ "Tik Chi-yuen becomes only non-establishment elected to LegCo". The Standard. 20 December 2021. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  28. ^ Ni, Vincent; Kwan, Rhoda (20 December 2021). "West raises concerns after pro-Beijing candidates sweep Hong Kong elections". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  29. ^ "No. of electors in the 2021 final registers". Registration and Electoral Office. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  30. ^ Distribution of registered electors by functional constituencies in 2021,
  31. ^ Report on the 1995 Legislative General Election, Boundary and Election Commission
  32. ^ "LegCo Today". Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Administrative Region. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  33. ^ Public Accounts Committee (Hong Kong) https://www.legco.gov.hk/general/english/pac/pac_1620.htm
  34. ^ "President of the Legislative Council". The Legislative Council Commission.
  35. ^ a b 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.
  36. ^ "R.17, Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR". Legislative Council of the Hong Kong. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  37. ^ Legislative Council Secretariat Education Service Team (January 2022). "HOW LAWS ARE MADE" (PDF). Legislative Council in Brief No. 7.
  38. ^ Michael DeGolyer (24 July 2008). "Legco dice loaded from the start" Archived 7 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine. The Standard.
  39. ^ "Knowledge of the Legislative Council". Legislative Council Commission.
  40. ^ "Legislative Council Secretariat". The Legislative Council Commission.
  41. ^ "Composition of the Legislative Council" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hong Kong. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  42. ^ "Possible duplication of work of the LegCo Redress System with the work of The Office of The Ombudsman" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hong Kong.
  43. ^ "The Legislative Council Commission". Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]