A Hong Kong court has begun hearing a legal bid to unseat the territory’s new chief executive, Leung Chun-ying.
An election petition has been filed, claiming Leung lied about illegal structures in his home and is thus not suitable for office.
Leung, who was sworn in as Hong Kong’s new chief executive on July 1 after winning the March election, has been under plenty of pressure from the very start of his administration.
On his first day in office on July 1, an estimated 400,000 people took to the streets calling for his resignation.
Less than two weeks later, his newly-appointed development minister was arrested by the city’s anti-corruption watchdog.
Adding to his current woes, Leung is now facing a legal bid to unseat him.
Democratic Party’s chair Albert Ho has filed an election petition challenging Leung’s election victory.
Ho contested the Chief Executive election in March when he came in third behind Leung and Henry Tang.
The pan-democratic lawmaker claimed the chief executive lied about six illegal structures in his home and is therefore unsuitable for the city’s top job.
But Hong Kong law requires an election petition to be filed within seven days of the election results.
With the election held in March, that deadline has long passed.
But Ho argued he has grounds as the illegal structures scandal only came to light recently.
Ho said: “We feel that the seven days deadline is unconstitutional.”
Leung’s lawyer Johnny Mok told the court that the petition is invalid.
Mok said under Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the purpose of the chief executive election is to return a candidate who will then be appointed by the Chinese central government.
He argued that once the appointment is made, any removal of Hong Kong’s leader is a political decision taken by the central government, and cannot be a simple legal assessment by the court.
Leung’s lawyer also argued the 95-day gap between polling day and when the chief executive is sworn in, is to ensure any legal challenges are settled before the chief executive takes office.
He said to unseat an incumbent chief executive would cause great disruption to society and bad for Hong Kong.
The hearing continues on August 16.
Category: Hong Kong