Court tosses opposition challenge over CE election

Updated: 2012-07-31 07:11

By Joseph Li (HK Edition)

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The Court of First Instance refused to grant leave for a judicial review, on Monday as opposition lawmakers Albert Ho and Leung Kwok-hung sought to overturn the outcome of the March 25 Chief Executive election.

The Court ruled the Chief Executive Election Ordinance is the only means by which an election may be challenged. The ruling stated that given that the legal grounds will be argued in the election petition scheduled for the middle of next month, parallel proceedings by way of judicial review should not be undertaken.

In late June, Leung Chun-ying was reported by the media as having unauthorized building works at his private residence. On the basis of those reports, the two opposition leaders, Ho and Leung proceeded with a request for a judicial review challenging CY Leung's election as CE, contending that Leung had made false declarations when he stated during the election campaign that there were no unauthorized building structures at his home. By then, the seven-day time bar for raising an election petition already had lapsed.

In a written judgment, Justice Johnson Lam said Ho could still argue the constitutionality of the seven-day limit on August 15. The judge went on, that there was no justification to allow Leung to pursue a parallel challenge or for there to be a second set of legal proceedings.

"Without good and cogent reasons, two sets of proceedings between the same parties on the same subject matter raising the same issues is an abuse of process," the Judge commented.

The Court denied the applicants' claim that Leung Chun-ying's was not a person of integrity, eligible to hold office as Chief Executive as stipulated under Article 47 of the Basic Law.

The claim arose from Leung's earlier statements concerning the illegal structures. The Court accepted the submission of Leung's lawyer that Article 47 requires only that the CE conduct himself with integrity in the performance of his duty, and that even that provision cannot be construed as a provision for disqualification.

After judgment was handed down, Ho, who was one of the three Chief Executive election candidates, said he would challenge the constitutionality of the seven-day limit in the forthcoming case. Should he fail in his election petition, he said he would consider appealing the refusal to grant a judicial review.

Since he was not a CE election candidate, Leung Kwok-hung was not qualified to lodge an election petition. He will consider appealing the refusal to grant a judicial review but legal cost is his major concern.

Albert Ho has signed up for this year's Legislative Council Election (Super District Council constituency). Other candidates are: James To, Lau Kong-wah, Starry Lee, Chan Yuen-han, Pamela Pak and Fung Kin-kee.

Leung Kwok-hung has enrolled in the New Territories East geographical constituency. The other candidates include: Cheung Chiu-hung, James Tien, Ip Wai-ming, Chan Chi-chuen, Richard Tsoi, Wong Sing-chi, Emily Lau, Gary Fan, Ho Man-kit, Ronny Tong, Chan Hak Kan, Elizebeth Quat, Angel Leung, Scarlet Pong and Christine Fong.

joseph@chinadailyhk.com

(HK Edition 07/31/2012 page1)