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Hong Kong passes election law change, acting executive resigns to campaign

[JURIST] Hong Kong acting Chief Executive Donald Tsang [BBC profile] tendered his resignation Wednesday, shortly after the Legislative Council [official website, English] passed a controversial amendment to the Chief Executive Election Ordinance that will cut short the term of the next chief executive. Tsang's resignation will allow him to campaign for the July election to replace Hong Kong's former leader, Tung Chee-hwa, who abruptly resigned [JURIST report] in March. Tung's resignation led to a dispute over the length of the term to be served by his successor, and Chinese government officials decided that the winner of July's election would only serve two years, the remainder of Tung's term. Pro-democracy groups argued that the law clearly allowed Tung's elected replacement to serve a full five-year term. Hong Kong officials asked China's National People's Congress [official website] for an interpretation of Hong Kong's Basic Law [text, English]; the NPC endorsed a limited term [JURIST report] and asked Hong Kong's legislature to clarify the election ordinance by passing an amendment saying that if a chief executive resigned, the next elected leader would serve out the rest of the term. Read the Hong Kong goverment press release on Tsang's resignation. AP has more. Hong Kong's Standard has local coverage.

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