Chief Executive of Hong Kong

Chief Executive of Hong Kong

Overview

The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong
Executive Council of Hong Kong
The Executive Council of Hong Kong is a core policy-making organ in the executive branch of the government of Hong Kong.. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong serves as its President.The Executive Council normally meets once a week...

 and head
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Government of Hong Kong
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, commonly the Hong Kong Government, is led by the Chief Executive as Head of the Government, who is also the head of the Hong Kong SAR...

. The position was created to replace the Governor of Hong Kong
Governor of Hong Kong
The Governor of Hong Kong was the head of the government of Hong Kong during British rule from 1843 to 1997. The governor's roles were defined in the Hong Kong Letters Patent and Royal Instructions...

, who was the head of the Hong Kong government during British rule. The office, stipulated by the Hong Kong Basic Law
Hong Kong Basic Law
The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, or simply Hong Kong Basic Law, serves as the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China...

, formally came into being on 1 July 1997 when the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred
Transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong
The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, referred to as ‘the Return’ or ‘the Reunification’ by the Chinese and ‘the Handover’ by others, took place on 1 July 1997...

 from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China. The chief executive holds the title "The Honourable", and ranks first in the Hong Kong order of precedence
Hong Kong order of precedence
The Hong Kong order of precedence is a nominal and symbolic hierarchy of important positions within the Government of Hong Kong. Administered by the government's Protocol Division, the hierarchy does not determine the order of succession for the office of Chief Executive, which is instead specified...

.
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The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong
Executive Council of Hong Kong
The Executive Council of Hong Kong is a core policy-making organ in the executive branch of the government of Hong Kong.. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong serves as its President.The Executive Council normally meets once a week...

 and head
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Government of Hong Kong
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, commonly the Hong Kong Government, is led by the Chief Executive as Head of the Government, who is also the head of the Hong Kong SAR...

. The position was created to replace the Governor of Hong Kong
Governor of Hong Kong
The Governor of Hong Kong was the head of the government of Hong Kong during British rule from 1843 to 1997. The governor's roles were defined in the Hong Kong Letters Patent and Royal Instructions...

, who was the head of the Hong Kong government during British rule. The office, stipulated by the Hong Kong Basic Law
Hong Kong Basic Law
The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, or simply Hong Kong Basic Law, serves as the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China...

, formally came into being on 1 July 1997 when the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred
Transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong
The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, referred to as ‘the Return’ or ‘the Reunification’ by the Chinese and ‘the Handover’ by others, took place on 1 July 1997...

 from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China. The chief executive holds the title "The Honourable", and ranks first in the Hong Kong order of precedence
Hong Kong order of precedence
The Hong Kong order of precedence is a nominal and symbolic hierarchy of important positions within the Government of Hong Kong. Administered by the government's Protocol Division, the hierarchy does not determine the order of succession for the office of Chief Executive, which is instead specified...

. The current chief executive is Donald Tsang
Donald Tsang
Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, GBM, KBE is the current Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Government of Hong Kong....

.

Eligibility for office


According to Article 44 of the Basic Law, the Chief Executive must be a Chinese citizen as defined by the HKSAR passport ordinance. The individual must be older than 40 years old, who is a permanent resident of the HKSAR with no right of abode
Right of abode
The right of abode is an individual's freedom from immigration control in a particular country. A person who has the right of abode in a country does not need permission from the government to enter the country and can live and work there without restriction....

 in any foreign country, and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of no less than 20 years. Article 47 further requires that the Chief Executive be a person of integrity, dedicated to his or her duties. In addition, according to electoral laws, anyone interested in running for Chief Executive must receive at least 100 nominations from the Election Committee
Election Committee
The Election Committee is an 800-member electoral college in the politics of Hong Kong. It was established by Annex I of the Basic Law of Hong Kong. This article defines the method of electing the Chief Executive. It is renewed every five years when the sitting Chief Executive's term has expired...

 prior to the election.

Election



The Chief Executive is elected by an 800-member Election Committee, an electoral college
Electoral college
An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organizations or entities, with each organization or entity represented by a particular number of electors or with votes weighted in a particular way...

 consisting of individuals (i.e. private citizens) and bodies (i.e. special interest groups) elected within 28 functional constituencies
Functional constituency
In the political systems of Hong Kong and Macau, a functional constituency is a professional or special interest group involved in the electoral process...

. The functional constiuencies correspond to various sectors of the economy and society, each of which hold an internal election for a set number of electors. In the first election
Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 1996
The first ever Hong Kong chief executive election was held on 11 December 1996. Since Hong Kong was then a British colony, election for the first Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China was held by the People's Republic of China authorities...

 of the Chief Executive, the Committee consisted of only 400 members Election Committee. Since the second term
Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 2002
The Hong Kong chief executive election in 2002 was the second time the Chief executive of Hong Kong was selected by an election. It is also the first selection under which the territory was part of the Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China...

, the Election Committee was enlarged to its current size. The elected Chief Executive must then be appointed by the Central People's Government.

According to Article 46
Hong Kong Basic Law Article 46
Article 46 of the Hong Kong Basic Law states:This became a part of a legal dispute in 2005 after the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa. The question arose as to whether his successor would serve a full five-year term or would only serve the remainder of Tung's term...

 the term of office of the Chief Executive is five years who may not serve more than two consecutive terms. If a vacancy appears mid-term, 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
Hong Kong Basic Law Article 45
Hong Kong Basic Law Article 45 is a controversial article in the Basic Law of Hong Kong. It states that the Chief executive should be chosen by universal suffrage as an eventual goal. Its speedy implementation is advocated by the Basic Law Article 45 Concern Group.-Contents of Article 45:Article...

 and Annex I of the Basic Law, and the Chief Executive Election Ordinance of Hong Kong.

Duties and powers


Under the Basic Law the Chief Executive is the chief representative of people of Hong Kong and is the head of the government of Hong Kong, whose powers and functions include leading the government, implementing the law, signing bills and budgets passed by the Legislative Council
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
The Legislative Council is the unicameral legislature of Hong Kong.-History:The Legislative Council of Hong Kong was set up in 1843 as a colonial legislature under British rule...

, deciding on government policies, advising appointment and dismissal principal officials of the Government of Hong Kong
Government of Hong Kong
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, commonly the Hong Kong Government, is led by the Chief Executive as Head of the Government, who is also the head of the Hong Kong SAR...

 to the Central People's Government
Central People's Government
The Central People's Government is the central government of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. According to the 1982 Constitution, "Central People's Government" is synonymous with the State Council.-History:...

, appointing judges and holders of certain public offices and to pardon or commute
Commutation of sentence
Commutation of sentence involves the reduction of legal penalties, especially in terms of imprisonment. Unlike a pardon, a commutation does not nullify the conviction and is often conditional. Clemency is a similar term, meaning the lessening of the penalty of the crime without forgiving the crime...

 sentences. The position is also responsible for the policy address
Policy address of Hong Kong
Policy address is the annual address by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong . It used to be addressed in October, on the opening of the Legislative Council...

 made to the public.

The Executive Council of Hong Kong
Executive Council of Hong Kong
The Executive Council of Hong Kong is a core policy-making organ in the executive branch of the government of Hong Kong.. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong serves as its President.The Executive Council normally meets once a week...

 is an organ for assisting the Chief Executive in policy-making. The council is consulted before making important policy decisions, introducing bills to the Legislative Council, making subordinate legislation or dissolving the Legislative Council.

Resignation


Article 52 stipulates circumstances under which the Chief Executive must resign. Examples include the loss of ability to discharge his or her duties or refusal to sign a bill passed by a two-thirds majority of the Legislative Council.

Acting and succession


The acting and succession line is spelled out in Article 53. If the Chief Executive is not able to discharge his or her duties for short periods (such as during overseas visits), the duties would be assumed by the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Financial Secretary or the Secretary for Justice
Secretary for Justice
The Secretary for Justice is a member of the Hong Kong Government responsible for prosecutions and legal matters. He or she heads the Department of Justice....

, by rotation, in that order, as acting chief executive. In case the position becomes vacant, a new Chief Executive would have to be elected. The provisions of inability to exercise the powers come into force, and then a new election is held on the Sunday on or immediately following the 120th day after the vacancy accordingly. No election is required, of course, if only one candidate is nominated.

Residence and office


Prior to the handover in 1997, the office of the Chief Executive-designate was at the 7th floor of the Asia Pacific Finance Tower. When Tung Chee Hwa
Tung Chee Hwa
Tung Chee Hwa, GBM was the first Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China....

 assumed duty on 1 July 1997, the office of the Chief Executive was located at the 5th floor of the Central Government Offices
Central Government Offices
The Central Government Offices houses the most major offices of the Hong Kong Government. Located in Central in Hong Kong, it occupies the lower level of Government Hill.- History :...

 (Main Wing). In the past the governor had his office at the Government House. Tung did not use the Government House
Government House, Hong Kong
Government House , located on Government Hill in the Central District of Hong Kong Island, is the official residence of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong...

 as the primary residence because he lived at his own residence at Grenville House
Grenville House
Grenville House is an apartment complex on the Mid-levels, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong.There is also an identically named Outdoor Education Center, Grenville House, in Brixham, UK....

. Donald Tsang
Donald Tsang
Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, GBM, KBE is the current Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Government of Hong Kong....

 decided to return to the renovated Government House, and moved in on 12 January 2006, for both his office and residence.

Criticism of the office


Since the Chief Executive is elected by a committee of 800 people rather than the general population, many people, in particular the pro-democrats
Pro-democracy camp
Pro-democracy camp, pan-democracy camp or pan-democrats refer to the politicians and social activists in Hong Kong who support increased democracy and may work together in areas of common interest or by not fielding candidates against one another in elections.Democratic activists are usually...

, have criticised the office as undemocratic, and have criticised the entire election process as a "small-circle election." There has also been criticisms that because the office is not democratically elected, the CE lacks legitimacy among the people. There is also criticism that the Office often do not represent or promote the interests of Hong Kong to the Chinese government.

Moreover, there is criticism to the criteria of the candidate for the office must receive at least 100 nominations from the Election Committee. Since the overwhelming majority of the Election Committee has ties to China, be it political or economic, this criteria is seen to be a tool to sift out any potential candidates who is not in favour with the Chinese Government. Many events
Democratic development in Hong Kong
Democratic development in Hong Kong has been a major topic since the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997. The One country, two systems principle allows the Hong Kong government to administer all areas of government except foreign relations and defense separately from the national Chinese...

, including 2010 events such as the Five Constituencies Referendum have attempted to push for greater democracy and universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

.

List of Chief Executives of Hong Kong

Order Full Name Assumed office Left office Notes Term
1 Tung Chee-hwa
Tung Chee Hwa
Tung Chee Hwa, GBM was the first Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China....


董建華
1 July 1997 30 June 2002 1
1 July 2002 12 March 2005 Resigned before end of term 2
Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen
Donald Tsang
Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, GBM, KBE is the current Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Government of Hong Kong....


曾蔭權 爵士
13 March 2005 24 May 2005 Acting chief executive
Henry Tang Ying-yen
Henry Tang
Henry Tang Ying-yen, GBM, GBS, JP was the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong until his resignation in September 2011. He is a candidate in the Hong Kong Chief Executive election of 2012, and believed to be preferred by Beijing....


唐英年
25 May 2005 24 June 2005 Acting chief executive
2 Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen
Donald Tsang
Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, GBM, KBE is the current Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Government of Hong Kong....


曾蔭權 爵士
25 June 2005 30 June 2007
1 July 2007 (incumbent) Term ends on 30 June 2012 3

See also

  • Governor of Hong Kong
    Governor of Hong Kong
    The Governor of Hong Kong was the head of the government of Hong Kong during British rule from 1843 to 1997. The governor's roles were defined in the Hong Kong Letters Patent and Royal Instructions...

  • Politics of Hong Kong
    Politics of Hong Kong
    Politics of Hong Kong takes place in a framework of a political system dominated by its constitutional document, the Basic Law of Hong Kong, its own legislature, the Chief Executive as the head of government, and of a multi-party system...

  • Chief Executive of Macau
    Chief Executive of Macau
    The Chief Executive of Macau is the head of the government of Macau, a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China and a former Portuguese overseas province.Under the Basic Law of Macau, the CE's role is:...

  • Policy address of Hong Kong
    Policy address of Hong Kong
    Policy address is the annual address by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong . It used to be addressed in October, on the opening of the Legislative Council...


External links