Article 47 further requires that the Chief Executive must 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 prior to the election.
Under the Chief Executive Election Ordinance, the winning candidate to the election must declare 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 ostensibly to ensure neutrality, though the Chief Executive has so far been heavily influenced by Beijing.
On 12 March 2005, Tsang, as acting chief executive, together with Elsie Leung, the Secretary for Justice, announced the Hong Kong Government had decided, based on the advice from legal experts from the mainland, it will be the remainder of Tung's term, and would proceed to the Legislative Council to amend local laws to confirm.
On 23 March, Wang Rudeng, assistance director of the Central People's Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said to the press that the central government would not let the debate to carry on. He also commented that many well-educated people had shown their support to an NPCSC interpretation of the Basic Law. However, many others expressed fears that, in view of the clear lack of ambiguity of Article 45, seeking an interpretation of the Basic Law by the National People's Congress Standing Committee would undermine the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong. One day later legislator Albert Chan admitted he was planning to file a judicial review.
Pre-empting the outcome of any further debate and formal interpretation by the Standing Committee, on 30 March, Cheng Siwei, a vice president of the NPCSC, reiterated the statement by the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPCSC in mid-February that the successor should serve the remainder of the unexpired term.
Tsang and Elsie Leung met members of legislative council on 31 March and 1 April. Tsang told the press he was worried the election would not be able to be held on time, if some file a judicial review. On 1 April, both the Law Society of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Bar Association said the term should be five years. They requested to join the delegation to Beijing during the meeting with Elsie Leung.
By 2 April, pro-Beijing parties Liberal Party, DAB and The Alliance indicated that they could accept an interpretation. Cheng Yiu Tong, non-ex-officio member of Executive Council and president of pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said there were many more benefits than shortcomings of an interpretation.
On 5 April, Tam Yiu Chung, vice-chairman of DAB, announced to the press that the government would seek an interpretation. Acting chief executive Tsang, as chief secretary, announced formally on 6 April at Legislative Council meeting.
The NPCSC confirmed their interpretation on 27 April 2005, stating the new Chief Executive would fill the vacancy only for the remainder of Tung's term.
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.)
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.
Previous governors also had some alternative residence. Sir Hercules Robinson also had a residence, Mountain Lodge, which was built as a summer home. Only the Gate Lodge and Victoria Peak Garden remains (Sir Richard MacDonnell also had a residence built in 1868). The Fanling Lodge in the New Territories remains the alternate summer residence after 1997.
Prior to the handover in 1997, the Office of the Chief Executive-designate was at the seventh floor of the Asia Pacific Finance Tower. When Tung Chee Hwa assumed duty on 1 July 1997, the Office of the Chief Executive was located at the fifth floor of the Central Government Offices (Main Wing), also known as the Government Secretariat. In the past the governor had his office at the Government House.
Since the CE is elected by a committee of 800 people (which represents about 0.01% of Hong Kong's population), rather than the general population, many people, in particular the pro-democrats, have criticized the Office as undemocratic, and have criticized 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 to 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.
|Order||Name||Assumed office||Left office||Notes||Term|
|1||Tung Chee Hwa||1 July 1997||30 June 2002||1|
|1 July 2002||12 March 2005||Resigned before end of term||2|
|-||Donald Tsang||13 March 2005||24 May 2005||Acting chief executive|
|-||Henry Tang||25 May 2005||24 June 2005||Acting chief executive|
|2||Donald Tsang||25 June 2005||30 June 2007|
|1 July 2007||(incumbent)||Term ends on 30 June 2012||3|