Carrie Lam on Tuesday played down criticism over her meeting with pro-government district councillors who lost in the elections in November, saying she thought it was a good idea to thank them for their support over the last four years.
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung has called a meeting with new councillors on Friday, with almost all of them from the pro-democracy camp. But many have said they will not be attending, and slammed the CE for meeting defeated candidates instead of the new councillors.
Speaking before Tuesday's Executive Council meeting, Lam said it is an established practice for the chief secretary to meet new councillors to brief them on the role and functions of the district councils. That cannot be compared to the reception held for defeated councillors, who she said were "retiring".
"The target of the guests invited to the Government House reception were retirees. They were going to step down from the district councils," said Lam. "So myself and my principal officials thought it would be a good idea for us to personally thank them for their support in the last four years."
The CE said the government's working relationship with the district councils will remain the same, despite the pro-democracy camp wresting control of all but one council in the election in November. She said the government will provide the same level of support to all district councils, regardless of their political make up.
Analysts say the opposition camp’s landslide victory is a clear indication that people are very unhappy with the administration’s performance, as well as its refusal to address the demands of anti-government protesters.