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Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021

Policy address has a new role: commentator

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is expected to postpone delivering her policy address from October to January following electoral changes, with the address to come before her bid for reelection.
After the electoral changes that pushed back the Legislative Council elections to December 19 instead of September, political commentator Bruce Lui Ping-kuen said the government will definitely consider postponing the policy address to January.

Delivering the policy address in October as usual will make the government look outdated, as it failed to ride the tide of the electoral changes, Lui said.

"Postponing the delivery of the policy address until January - after the Legco elections returns a new batch of lawmakers into the chamber - will give people the feeling that it is the beginning of a new chapter," he said.

Although Lam has yet to announce whether she will run for reelection, Lui said the chance of Lam getting another term is high.

"Beijing is satisfied with her work, and she will get Beijing's blessing in her bid to seek reelection," Lui said. "We can see Beijing helping her clear obstacles in her way during the anti-fugitive bill movement as well as during times of the pandemic."

After "rectifying" the education, media and civil service sector, as well as implementing "patriots administering Hong Kong," Lam should be regarded by the central government as an effective person so it is reasonable for her to be reelected.

Lui also said that although the Basic Law allows the chief executive to be reelected once, which means they can at most take office for 10 years, none of the chief executives since the handover in 1997 were able to do so.

"Therefore to prove that the system in the SAR is now perfect, and there is no problem in Hong Kong's governance, Beijing will want Lam to be reelected and finish her two five-year terms," he said.

Lui also expects some Beijing officials in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs to be replaced after the 20th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party next year, including the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, and the director of central government liaison office in Hong Kong, Luo Huining.

"To ensure stability in the political situation as well as a continuity in government policies, it is only reasonable to have the chief executive staying in office," Lui said.

He added the central government should refrain from replacing Hong Kong's leader, as it might be seen as a signal of backing down in the current political situation.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union might not send representatives to run for the Election Committee or the Legco seat representing the education sector after the electoral change.

The president of the union, Fung Wai-wah, said the electoral changes are picking on the pro-democracy camp and no longer allow frontline teachers to voice their opinions, as votes will be cast by university presidents and school sponsoring bodies instead of teachers.

He also believes that pro-democracy candidates will have just a tiny chance of winning, therefore the education sector lawmaker elected in the upcoming election will lose the ability to monitor the government.
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