Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Chief Executive of Hong Kong
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Chinese: 香港特別行政區行政長官 pinyin: Xiānggǎng Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū Xíngzhèng Zhangguān) is the head of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, and represents the Region. The position is currently held by Donald Tsang, Chief Secretary for Administration, on an acting basis.
Under the Basic Law, the Chief Executive is the head of the government of the HKSAR, whose powers and functions include leading the government, implementing the law, signing bills and budgets passed by the Legislative Council, deciding on government policies, nominating principal officials of the HKSAR to the Central People's Government, and appointment of judges and holders of public office. He shall be accountable to the Central People's Government and the HKSAR in accordance with the Basic Law.
The Executive Council is the de facto cabinet of the Chief Executive. It is presided over by the Chief Executive and is an organ for assisting him in policy-making. The Chief Executive shall consult the Executive Council before making important policy decisions, introducing bills to the Legislative Council, making subordinate legislation or dissolving the Legislative Council.
The office, stipulated by the Basic Law, formally came into being on July 1, 1997 when the People's Republic of China resumed the exercise of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom. Under British colonial rule, the top position was held by the Governor of Hong Kong.
Eligibility to hold office
Article 44 of the Basic Law provides that the Chief Executive must be a Chinese citizen of not less than 40 years old, who is a permanent resident of HKSAR with no right of abode in any foreign country, and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years.
Article 47 further requires that the Chief Executive must be a person of integrity, dedicated to his or her duties.
Election of the Chief Executive
The term of office of the Chief Executive is five years (Unless a resignation occurs, in that case the new Chief Executive finishes up the previous Chief Executive's term), and each person can serve for not more than two consecutive terms. The method of selecting the Chief Executive is provided under Article 45 and Annex I of the Basic Law, and the Chief Executive Election Ordinance of Hong Kong. The first term of the Chief Executive was elected by a 400 member Election Committee, consisting of members (electors) as elected from respective sectors and appointed by the Central People's Government. In the second term, the Election Committee was enlarged to 800 members. The elected Chief Executive must then be approved by the Central People's Government.
Under the Chief Executive Election Ordinance, the winning candidate to the election must declared that he is not a member of a political party, and will not become a member of any political party nor subject to the discipline of any political party during his term of office. This is to ensure neutrality.
In 1997, Tung won 320 of the 400 votes from a field of four candidates. In 2002, Tung was declared elected unopposed. The method of election for the term of Chief Executive commencing in 2007 is one of the core issues under political debate in Hong Kong since 2004.
Article 52 stipulates circumstances under which the Chief Executive must resign, including the lost of ability to discharge his or her duties, and refusal to sign a bill passed by a two-thirds majority of the Legislative Council, after previously dissolving the Council because he or she twice refuses to sign the original bill passed by a two-thirds majority.
Acting and succession
If the Chief Executive is not able to discharge his or her duties for short period (such as during overseas visits), the duties would be assumed by the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Financial Secretary or the Secretary of Justice, in that order, as acting chief executive.
In case the position becomes vacant, a new Chief Executive shall be elected within six months, and the above arrangements will be assumed in the interim period.
Tung Chee Hwa resigned from his post on March 10, 2005 (endorsed by the Central People's Government on March 12) and therefore, the provisions of succession give Donald Tsang, the Chief Secretary, the position of acting Chief Executive before the Election Committee elect a new Chief Executive within 120 days.
List of Chief Executives of Hong Kong
|Rank||Term||Name||Took Office||Left Office|
|1||1||Tung Chee Hwa||July 1, 1997||June 30, 2002|
|2||July 1, 2002||March 12, 2005|
|acting||Donald Tsang||March 12, 2005||(incumbent)|
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