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sosc179lect2.words

sosc179lect2.words

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Spring 2004 L2 Lecture 2 The Chief Executive and the Executive Branch (A) The Nature of the Executive-Dominant System ( 行政主導 ) “Executive-dominance”, as a “major principle” of the SAR political system, is not precisely defined and is not explicitly written in the Basic Law. In the HK political system, most political power is concentrated in the hands of the Chief Executive and the Executive branch. The executive branch includes the bureau secretaries ( 局長 ), the civil service and the Executive Council (Exco) ( 行政局 / 行政會議 ). Many policy decisions do not have to pass through the Legislative Council (Legco) (e.g., cutting the CSSA ( 綜援 ), using mother language in schools, to build 85,000 flats a year). Only policy decisions that require legislation or appropriation ( 撥款 ) need to get the approval of the Legco. The government controls the power of initiation of bills, and has a big influence on the timetable of the Legco. The Basic Law (Art.72) stipulates that government motions and proposals have a priority in the Legco agenda. Constitutionally the Legco is relatively weak in power. It can control the government and government finance. It can also influence government policy by passing, vetoing or amending laws. However, it is relatively difficult for the Legco to force the government to adopt new policies or change policies if the government does not want to do so. The executive branch, mostly the Chief Executive, holds a wide range of appointment powers (see below), which the Legco cannot control. (B) The Governor and the Chief Executive The Governor was a petty dictator holding a wide range of powers: 1
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Spring 2004 L2 (1) He appointed all the Exco and Legco members before 1985. He was Chairman of both the Exco and Legco until 1991 and could dissolve the Legco any time. (2) All appointments, promotions, transfers of public officials in the colony were made in his name. The list included judges, government officials, members of consultative committees, boards of public corporations (e.g., KCRC), statutory bodies and policy commissions (e.g., Housing Authority 房委會 ). Most of these appointments do not need the approval of the Legco or the courts. (3) He can disregard the opinion of the majority of Exco. He only had to explain the reason to the British Foreign Office ( 英國外交部 ). (4) Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces in HK. (5) All bills passed by the Legco need the final approval and signature of the Governor before they can become law. The SAR Chief Executive (CE) : Similarities and Differences in Power Similarities (a) Retains most of the appointment powers enjoyed by the colonial governor by 1997.
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