The Chief Executive
The Chief Executive is the head of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. He or she is elected by a broadly representative Election Committee in accordance with the Basic Law, and is appointed by the Central People’s Government. The Chief Executive is responsible for implementing the Basic Law, signing bills and budgets, promulgating laws, making decisions on government policies and issuing Executive Orders. He or she is assisted in policy making by the Executive Council.
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The Executive Council assists the Chief Executive in policy-making and advises the Chief Executive on matters relating to the introduction of bills and subsidiary legislation. The Council comprises 21 principal officials and 16 non-official members. All members are appointed by the Chief Executive from among the senior officials of the executive authorities, members of the Legislative Council and public figures. They serve for a period no longer than the expiry of the Chief Executive's term of office.
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The main administrative and executive functions of government are carried out by policy bureaux and departments.
Organisation Chart of the HKSAR Government
Permanent secretaries and heads of government departments
The civil service employs approximately 177,000 persons (excluding judges, judicial officers, ICAC officers and locally engaged staff working in overseas Hong Kong economic and trade offices), or about 4.5 per cent of the Hong Kong’s labour force. Apart from administering public services, its main tasks are to assist the Chief Executive and principal officials in formulating policies and carrying out decisions.
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The Legislative Council is the law-making body of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The number of Members of the seventh term Legislative Council is increased from 70 to 90, including 40 Members returned by the Election Committee Constituency, 30 Members returned by Functional Constituencies, and 20 Members returned by Geographical Constituencies through elections. Apart from its law-making function, the Legislative Council debates issues of public interest, examines and approves budgets, receives and debates the Chief Executive's policy addresses, and endorses the appointment and removal of the judges of the Court of Final Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court.
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The Basic Law ensures that Hong Kong remains within the common law system. The judiciary is independent from the legislative and executive branches of government, with the courts showing no bias. For the most serious types of criminal offences, a jury decides whether the accused is guilty or not, with a majority vote required. The Court of Final Appeal is the highest appellate court and is headed by the Chief Justice.
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