Political Conditions in Hong Kong SAR
- Type of State
- Hong Kong is Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. Its status is defined by the basic law (adopted in 1990 by the National People's Assembly of China), which serves as the "constitution" of the Territory, and which confers its scope to the "one country, two systems" principle.
- Executive Power
- The territory is governed by a Chief Executive, elected for 5 years by a college of 800 large voters including parliamentarians, eminent personalities and representatives of the professional sectors. Mr.Donald Tsang was re-elected as Chief Executive on 25 March 2007 with 81% votes of large electors and a strong popular support (nearly 70% favorable opinions). For the first time, this election was challenged by a candidate of the democtratic camp Mr. Alan Leong, member of the Civil Party, a favorable sign of the effect of democratic debate.
The government is responsible only to the Chief Executive and is composed of 12 ministers (Secretaries) who are assisted by 17 senior functionaries who hold the title of "Permanent Secretaries". In hierarchical order, the three main government posts are the Chief Secretary- number 2 in the government, the Financial Secretary, and the Secretary for Justice. If the Chief Executive is unable to conduct his functions temporarily, they will be conducted in this order of precedence by the title holders of the main posts.
In addition, the Chief Executive is assisted by an Executive Council or Exco which includes the government ministers and 15 non-official members who are parliamentarians nominated by the Chief Executive; personalities from the business world or from civil companies. The Exco serves as the Council of Ministers by being the venue for formulation of government's policies. This council is consulted for all important political decisions. It meets once a week, under the chairmanship of the Chief Executive who should specially justify his decisions in case of disagrement with the majority of its members.
- Legislative Power
The Monocameral legislative power is conferred to a legislative council of 60 members whose appointment is confirmed through a complex poll procedure which has three distinct colleges :
- 30 members are elected by univeral voting (proportional voting by geographical district);
- 30 members are elected as part of the districts called "functional", which are professional colleges (teachers, banks, real-estate sector...) of very unequal importance (from several thousands to a few tens).
The council votes for and amends laws and can also introduce any new proposal. It examines and approves the budget, taxes and public expenditure, appoints the judges for the Court of Final Appeal and the President of the High Court. It can even question the responsibility of the Chief Executive and raise questions to the government about the conduct of its policy, the absence of political responsibility of the ministers can make the legislative council limit the control exercised by this assembly on the executive power.
Their mandate is for four years. The government is directly or indirectly dependent on parliament's support, which is often given through a vote of confidence. The Chief Executive does not have the power to dissolve the Parliament. He cannot refuse to sign a bill which has been voted in by 2/3 majority in the parliament. The politicial rights of Hong Kong citizens are very limited and very elementary.
- Main Political Parties
Since there is no legislation on political parties in Hong Kong, there is no legal definition of what is a political party. Most of the political parties or groups are registered either companies or as Business Corporations. Hong Kong has a multiparty system. There are several parties and one single party generally does not have any chance to win power by controlling the Legislative Council. The main political parties of the country are :
- The ADPL (Association for Democracy and People's livelihood), popular pro-democracy party
- The Citizens Party, it supports matters regarding minorities and environmental protection;
- DAB (Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong), (in Chinese only) conservative and pro-Beijing party;
- The Democratic Party, pro-democracy and liberal party ;
- The Frontier Party, radical, pro-democracy, demands that Hong Kong should have the right to draw-up its own constitution.
- Current Political Leaders
Head of State : President of China - HU Jintao (since March 2003) - Chinese Communist Party
Chief Executive : Donald TSANG (since June 2005) non-supporter
- Next Election Dates
- Legislative Council : in 2012
Indicator of Freedom of the Press
- World Rank:
- 3 places up compared to 2008
Indicator of Political Freedom
- Partly Free
- Political Freedom:
- Civil Liberties:
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