Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) survived a vote of no confidence on Wednesday over illegal structures at his home, buoyed by support from pro-establishment lawmakers.
The territory’s leader, who saw his popularity rating drop to 49.2 percent after six months in office, has been dogged by questions about his illegal structures from lawmakers and reporters since they were discovered in June.
Twenty-seven lawmakers supported the motion, while 34 lawmakers did not. Five of the lawmakers that were present at the hearing abstained from voting.
Most pro-establishment lawmakers — which make up 61 percent of Hong Kong’s 70-member-strong mini-parliament — did not support the motion of no confidence initiated by pro-democracy lawmaker Wu Chi-wai (胡志偉).
“Leung did not want to own up to what he’s done, I think he should show his political responsibility and resign,” Wu said. “He does not have integrity, he lied, he cannot win the support of the public and he cannot effectively govern.”
“If he steps down, Hong Kong will not be in good shape and we should not be dragged down with him,” pro-establishment lawmaker James Tien (田中光) said, urging pro-democracy lawmakers to give the chief executive another chance.
“I admit that I have shown negligence in handling this situation,” Leung told reporters on Wednesday morning, adding he would be more cautious in dealing with such matters in the future.
Leung released a statement last month acknowledging that he built two illegal structures, including a wooden trellis and a glass enclosure, at his residential complex. The two structures were among six others exposed by the media.
The chief executive was chosen to lead Hong Kong by a pro-Beijing committee in March, promising to improve governance and uphold the rule of law in the former British colony of 7 million people.
His main rival in the chief executive election race, Henry Tang (唐英年), was engulfed in a similar scandal during the campaign when he admitted to having built an elaborate entertainment den below his luxury home without obtaining the proper construction permits.