In Hong Kong Legislative Council ( Legco ) . the determination regulation is difference for the measures by authorities and the measures by the legislative council members. There are different positions about the Separate Vote Count Mechanism in the determination regulation of Legco. Some people think that it can non uncover public involvement and some people think it has its map on defying so called “unreasonable” or “nonsense” measures by the legco members. This essay is traveling to speak about the determination regulations in the Legco and besides it will concentrate on the separate ballot count mechanism.
Introduction of Legislative Council and its determination regulations
The Articles 66 to 79 of the Basic Law is the regulations which set up for the formation. term of office. powers and maps and other affairs of the Legco. The principle responsibilities of the Legco are to ordain. amend or revoke Torahs. examine and O.K. budgets. revenue enhancement and public outgo every bit good as rise inquiries on the work of the authorities. Furthermore. the Legco besides has the power to back the assignment and remotion of the Judgess of the Court of Final Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court and besides the power to impeach the Chief Executive. In 2012. the fifth Legco is composited by 70 members. Thirty-five members of the Legco are returned by the geographic constituencies through direct elections and the other half of members are returned by the functional constituencies.
There are two types of measures and they are the measures and gestures introduced by the authorities and by the Legco members. For the measures by the authorities. it includes of import measures and the ordinary measures. And the of import measures are related to the method of organizing the Legco. Legco’s processs for voting on measures and gestures and the amendment on the commissariats of annex 2 in Basic Law. Ordinary measures are all the measures which is unrelated to the above facets. For the vote of measures. there should hold absolute bulk of the Legco members present for ordinary measures and two-thirds bulk of all the Legco members for the of import measures. Besides. in the measures and gestures introduced by the Legco members. it included ordinary measures and particular juncture.
In the vote of ordinary measures. there should hold an absolute bulk of each of the two groups of members of the functional constituency and the geographical constituency nowadays. This is besides called the “separate ballot count mechanism” . On the other manus. there would hold vote for some particular occasions introduced by the Legco members. For blink of an eye. if the council members impeach the authorities. there should hold two-thirds of all Legco members pass the measures. And if there is any misbehaviour of council members and there are two-thirds bulk of the Legco members present pass the disapprobation. the council member will give up the making in Legislative Council. In add-on. the Legco is really complicated in world. There are different factors which impacting the concluding determination on measures. The two major factors would be the power of political parties and the acknowledgment of the measures.
Introduction of Separate Vote Count Mechanism
Harmonizing to the Annex 2 of the Basic Law. all the transition of gestures. measures and amendments to authorities measures introduced by the Legco single members should hold the bulk support of each from the two groups of the members present. And that is the members returned by functional constituencies and members returned by geographical constituencies from the direct elections and by the Election Committee. With the fundamental law of the separate ballot count mechanism. the influence and power of the Legco are kept under control. The virtue of the establishment of the separate ballot count mechanism is that. by enforcing a higher threshold. it can chair an utmost alteration of the policy way. Therefore. the authorities can carry on an incorporate executive leading and a higher grade of policy continuity.
Commentary on the mechanism
With the apprehension on the inside informations of separate ballot count mechanism. it is easy to cognize why the authorities set up the mechanism. The evident intent of puting this mechanism are to command the acceptance of the measures or gestures proposed by single lawgivers and to do certain the system is decidedly in government-led and beef up the executive laterality over the legislative assembly so that the authorities can take the enterprise apparently. No uncertainty. it forms high institutional threshold. The separate ballot count mechanism applies in the acceptance of measures raised by single members in the Legco as acquiring understanding by both geographical constituencies and functional constituencies.
That means some measures passed by geographical constituencies can still banned by the functional constituencies afterwards and therefore the measures will finally banned. The implicit in ground for holding this mechanism is to command the parliament efficaciously in a low cost by commanding all the “unfavorable” measures with fiting with the system of functional constituencies. The measures “unfavorable” or non is defined by the authorities in footings of its preset point of views and economic involvements. The preset point of views may be based on the will of the Cardinal Government of China or local authorities. Therefore. it is impossible to accomplish democracy under the separate ballot count mechanism particularly in functional constituency system and the authorities can still command everything at a certain degree.
In fact. most measures could non be passed under separate ballot count mechanism that can be passed under the simple bulk ballot count system. Compare to this system. the separate ballot count mechanism take a dual threshold in make up one’s minding to go through the measures made by single Legco member and it is much complicated. It is required to hold affirmatory ballots by at least half of the entire figure of members in both geographical and functional constituencies in Legislative Council. For the simple bulk ballot count system which is applied on the measures suggested by the authorities. it is much easier to go through the measures as deriving the support by lone half of the entire figure of members in Legislative Council.
Furthermore. due to the figure of voter of the functional constituencies is excessively few. it can merely stand for the rights and benefits of a little group of people who shared the vested involvements. The influence of functional constituencies is highly big disproportionately under the separate ballot count mechanism and so many determinations are oppose to the demands from the general populace. Tracing back the history of the measures objected by the Legislative Council. most of the measures are related to the social state of affairs and benefits and some are related to political and legislative facets even human rights. such as competition jurisprudence. limitation on screen edifice. These measures are all banned under the separate ballot count mechanism. If utilizing the simple ballot count mechanism. the measures would be passed. It is truly difficult to counterbalance the public involvements.
Anyhow. the separate ballot count mechanism still has its advantages. First. when enforcing a upper threshold of blessing on measures through the mechanism. it moderates a extremist fluctuation of the policy way and so behaviors to an integrated executive leading and produces a higher grade of policy continuity. ( Pang. 1998 ) It enables maintaining the stableness of position quo. Apparently the threshold is low plenty that merely 16 ballots can get the better of the measures raised by single members in Legco that they oppose. This forms a power of political forces to keep the stableness in measures statute law. Besides. with the separate ballot count mechanism in the functional constituencies. the Legco members with functional constituencies can vote for suited measures in showing a sensed demand to retain specific expertness in Legislative Council and in harmonizing to the societal and economic part of the sectors concerned.
The functional constituencies may expertise the suited measures among the industry in order to work out some specific jobs or stay the stableness of certain industry so that Hong Kong community can besides be developed good. But surely. there are plentifulness of disadvantages of this mechanism. First. giving the ballot abstinence becomes a mean of the members of Legislative Council to disregard their political duties. Under this mechanism. the ballot abstinence will be treated like a dissentient ballot. therefore some of the members may utilize the ballot abstinence to hide their opposing point of view towards an issue and the measures. It is irresponsible since they should voice out their accurate point of views towards different political and social issues and measures as that is what a Legco member should make.
Second. it leads the disadvantage of the established involvements since merely 16 ballots can efficaciously barricade any single measures or gestures from transition. so it limits the chances of the minority decidedly. The minority group is difficult to prosecute the other Legco members to vote for the measures if the measures are non satisfied in economical facet as most of the functional constituencies chiefly focus on fiscal addition brought by the measures. In add-on. the minority normally lose as acquiring small support with the absolute regulation of minority subsidiaries to the bulk. Third. it is hard to reflect the social penchants in a more relative manner as easy to handle the expostulation on minority positions as popular point of view as be the Legco bulk.
When fiting up with the functional constituency system. the separate ballot count mechanism Fosters Hong Kong’s legislative system to a system of extremely “unbalanced participation” as merely advancing the vested benefits of their ain members so vote on behalf of themselves. They can acquire their expected consequences in voting measures in most state of affairss since the functional constituencies may vote with the same point of views when they shared the same involvements and neglect the nonsubjective sentiments from the populace. Therefore. to a little extent the separate ballot count mechanism in functional constituency system can reflect social existent sentiments of Hong Kong community in current state of affairs.
Overall. this may hold a hapless and weak legislative system. When make up one’s minding the measures are sensible or non. it patterns favouritism and non reflect the public sentiment at all when there is struggle with the benefits of different functional constituencies although it is answer to the volitions of bulk. This is a large job of separate ballot count mechanism with functional constituencies. This consequences to no separation of powers at all. It may falsify the consequence of the vote of the Legislative Council and weakens the power for the legislative Council to supervise the authorities. Some people may knock the mechanism as the functional constituency is non elected by the populace. and hence. it can non to the full reveal public sentiment in the determination in the Legco when the legislators have to vote under the separate ballot count mechanism. In fact. public voice is still an of import factor in the determination of Legco. It has great power to alter the determinations in the Legco.
Indication in world
The lone manner to oppose the authorities in order to guarantee just and good actions done by the authorities to the society under the separate ballot count mechanism in the current state of affairs is filibuster. Filibuster is one sort of parliamentary process where an single member extends argument. enabling the lone member to detain or wholly forestall a ballot on a given proposal. Taking the recent instances about filibuster in Hong Kong as an illustration. the authorities attempted to prohibit vacating lawgivers from take parting in bye-elections. For the first instance. the authorities has proposed that the first campaigner who has non yet been elected in the list of campaigners with the largest balance ballots should be returned to make full it if a place of the legislative council falls vacant. The concluding measure is that the legislator who resigns can non take portion in the election within 6 months. For 2nd instance. it is the right of first publication ( amendment ) measure as the authorities banned the re-creation on the Internet.
Then. based on the two instances. bulk of people in the society think that the cardinal right of election ( based on article 26 ) and freedom of address ( based on article27 ) are deprived so it comes to the instance of filibuster made by the pro democratic parties as to interrupt the parliamentary process by giving a long address to detain or wholly forestall a ballot on a given proposal. Finally the event lasts three hebdomads and Man-power legislators Wong Yuk Man and Chan Wai Yip have submitted 1306 amendments. Filibuster is effectual when ensuing that the authorities announced that it would non subject the Copyright ( Amendment ) Bill any longer in this twelvemonth ( 2012 ) until September in 2013. On the other manus. the bye-election measure was still passed after the filibuster. Therefore. filibuster does make its maps if the measures could non truly fulfill what the most citizens want moderately as it can organize a group of defying political force under the separate ballot count mechanism chiefly with the functional constituencies in the legislative council.
Although there are many people criticize the mechanism can non uncover public sentiment. there is still have illustration that indicate the public voice is still really of import. The scheme $ 6000 is another illustration to exemplify the importance of public voice. In the 2011-2012 fiscal budget. the $ 6000 is proposed to be saved into the history of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes ( MPF ) originally. At the beginning clip. the society has merely small sentiment on the strategy and they merely experience a defeated when they heard the original $ 6000 strategy. During the advancement. the pan-democracy cantonment legislators introduce a suggestion that issue $ 6000 hard currency to the public alternatively of salvaging into the MPF history. After the suggestion of publishing $ 6000 hard currency. it had been heatedly debated in the society. Most of the people voiced that it is useless to salvage $ 6000 in the MPF history as it can non assist the public instantly.
They criticize the original strategy is waste of money and it can non truly assist those who are in demand. People even went on protest and knock the strategy and Mr. Tsang Chun-wah. After one hebdomad controversial treatment around the society. the society has consistent sentiment that issue $ 6000 alternatively of salvaging into MPF history. Since it was near the election for territory council in October. the Pro-Establishment cantonment would be hard to acquire support from the populace if they oppose the strategy this clip. Finally. Mr. Tsang Chun-wah announced the amendment on the strategy. The Pro-Establishment cantonment besides had a meeting with the fiscal secretary and treatment the item of the amendment on the strategy. After that. the Pro-Establishment Camp claimed that they had ‘persuaded’ Mr. Tsang Chun-wah to hold the $ 6000 hard currency strategy. Now. under the strategy $ 6000. a amount of HK $ 6000 will be given to each holder of a valid Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card aged 18 or supra. so as to go forth wealth with the people. And back to the vote of the strategy. the seats of Pro-Establishment Camp and the Pan-democracy cantonment is 37 and 23 severally in the 4th Legislative Council at that clip.
However. there are more Pro-Establishment legislators betray. And at the terminal. there were 48 legislators who attend and gain 28 ballots to go through it. In this instance of $ 6000 strategy. it illustrate that the public voice is besides of import to change the determination in the Legco. When the public force per unit area is high. even though the Pro-Establishment cantonment would wish to back up some of the measures. they still have to take the public sentiment into consideration. Although under the separate ballot count mechanism. the functional constituency is non elected by the populace. However. they will still hold to listen to the public sentiment to derive support from the populace. Therefore. the public force per unit area and the people voice is besides an of import factor when there is a determination in the Legco.
To reason. the separate ballot count system does accomplish its purposes that beef uping the executive laterality over the legislative assembly but it may pretermit the sentiments from the bulk of citizens in Hong Kong particularly in the functional constituency system since the vested involvements are put in the first precedence and the legislators vote for one measure based on this. It suppresses the measures and amendments from the minority most of the clip. Yet. the public voice is besides of import. When the public force per unit area is high. the council members must take the public position into the consideration. In the other manus. in order to develop a good legislative system. it is suggested to alleviate the current ballot count system and build a responsible and unfastened political system in Hong Kong that is to reconstruct the simple bulk ballot count system in the long term although in fact it is hard to alter.
1. hypertext transfer protocol: //legco. gov. hk
2. hypertext transfer protocol: //www. basiclaw. gov. hk
3. hypertext transfer protocol: //www. scheme6000. gov. hk
4. Fifty-one Pang-Kwong. Political Order and Power Transition in Hong Kong. ( 1997 )