CE to Chair Committee on Governance and Political Development
The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, will chair the Committee on Governance and Political Development under the Commission on Strategic Development to study the ways to implement universal suffrage in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Basic Law.
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui, attended the meeting of the Southern District Council today to hear the views of District Council members on the Fifth Report of the Constitutional Development Task Force. In response to questions raised by members, Mr Hui pointed out that we needed to study how the composition and operation of the legislature should
evolve when reaching the ultimate aim of universal suffrage.
Mr Hui said that democratic systems had different forms. For example, some places adopted a bicameral system, some retained some forms of appointment system. We must seriously consider the model of legislature which would best suit the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and which would be consistent with the Basic Law provisions, such as those concerning the
maintenance of capitalist system and way of life, balanced participation by different sectors of the community, a low tax policy, a balanced budget, and so on. When the Committee on Governance and Political Development study the model of legislature Hong Kong should adopt, it must consider these important Basic Law provisions.
In response to questions on a timetable for universal suffrage, Mr Hui emphasized that all along the Government considered that there should be a timetable for universal suffrage, and that the earlier the timetable could be set, the better. However, he pointed out that the community must first of all have thorough discussion and consensus on the model for the political
structure after the implementation of universal suffrage. Making a hasty decision on a timetable for universal suffrage was impracticable and irresponsible.
Mr Hui emphasized that the task of the Constitutional Development Task Force was to deal with the election methods for 2007 and 2008 in accordance with the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress made in April 2004.
He said that the package of proposals in the Fifth Report was arrived at after 18 months of wide consultation, and was definitively a step towards open democracy.
He said, "I understand that the public needs to see the future, but on the question of universal suffrage, there are many issues which we have to consider. Whilst we are dealing with the elections for 2007/08, the Committee on Governance and Political Development can start to consider the form of legislature in future, with a view to drawing up a road map for universal
suffrage. It is not a problem for the two to proceed in parallel."
He further said that there would definitively be a working timetable on the work of the Committee on Governance and Political Development to consider the road map for universal suffrage. When there was a road map, it should not be too difficult to have a timetable for universal suffrage.
Mr Hui further pointed out that political parties in Hong Kong did not have many members. This was why the Fifth Report recommended increasing the number of Legislative Council seats to be returned through geographical constituency elections, in the hope that this would create more room for development for political parties at district level.
He understood that different political parties had already started to map out their work in districts to prepare for the 2007 District Council elections with a view to securing seats on the Councils.
He said he understood that a major concern of members was the voting systems to be adopted for the election of six representatives among the 500 strong District Council members to sit on the Legislative Council in the 2008 Legislative Council elections. The Government would later put a paper to the Legislative Council, setting out various voting systems which could be
considered for discussion by the Legislative Council.
Mr Hui said, "At the present stage, we must first deal with the election methods for 2007/08, and to amend Annexes I and II of the Basic Law early. And then we will continue to move towards the target of universal suffrage."
Ends/Friday, November 4, 2005