Legislative Council President Andrew Leung says lawmakers disqualified from running for re-election will be welcomed back after the legislature's term was extended – though pan-democrats have indicated that they may stay away.
Speaking after the National People's Congress Standing Committee in Beijing voted on Tuesday to extend the legislature's tenure by "no less than one year", Leung urged lawmakers to ensure they carried out their duties properly.
"In the midst of the current pandemic, Hong Kong is facing severe economic hardship," Leung said.
"I hope that members across the political spectrum could put aside political differences and communicate with a rational attitude to discharge their constitutional duties and use a pragmatic approach to resolve our economic and livelihood issues to the best interests of the community.
However in a statement, the 22 pan-democratic members of Legco said they were still considering whether to participate in the extended Legco session and would gauge public opinion first.
They said the Standing Committee's decision was a clear violation of the Basic Law, which states that the Legco term is four years, and condemned the Hong Kong government for asking Beijing to make a ruling.
However Leung said Beijing's ruling did open the way for four members of the pro-democracy camp who had been barred from running for re-election to retain their seats.
"I think it is very simple. The Standing Committee's decision is to allow the sixth term of the legislature to continue to operate," he said.
"I think you just have to take the wording like that. You should not try to interpret it to your own way. So with that, I assume that all members currently in the legislature should continue to be members for the next year."
Do your duty, Legco head tells returning lawmakers
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