Hong Kong, Oct 12 (IANS) Pro-establishment lawmaker Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen won the Hong Kong Legislative Council presidential election on Wednesday during a dramatic session that saw a heated dispute over his nationality.
Pro-democracy lawmakers tore up their ballots and stormed out during the vote counting after questioning whether Leung had renounced his British nationality and whether he was, therefore, eligible for the presidency, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
Youngspiration lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang were told their oaths were invalid after they added extra phrases, unfurled banners with the words “Hong Kong is not China”, and pronounced China as “Chee-na” — a derogatory pronunciation used during Japanese occupation.
Independent lawmaker Edward Yiu Chung-yim’s oath was also rejected as he added that he would “fight for genuine universal suffrage” as he was sworn-in at the session.
The official oath requires lawmakers to uphold the Basic Law of Hong Kong — established after the 1997 handover of the territory from the UK to Beijing — and swear allegiance to Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of China.
According to Legislative Council rules, the three rejected lawmakers are ineligible to vote for the council’s president.
There were other bursts of defiance as the 70 newly-elected lawmakers were sworn-in at the council’s sixth session, with activist Leung Kwok-hung holding a yellow umbrella — a symbol of the 2014 pro-democracy protests dubbed the “Umbrella Revolution” — and called for civil disobedience.
Despite Leung producing documents from the UK Home Office confirming he had renounced his British nationality, the session was adjourned several times before he was declared winner of the election at 5.35 p.m. — more than three hours after its scheduled end time.