|LCQ3: Green paper on constitutional development
Following is a question by Hon Alan LEONG and an oral reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 27):
Regarding the remarks made by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs (SCA) on April 12 this year after attending the ninth meeting of the Committee on Governance and Political Development of the Commission on Strategic Development (CSD), will the Government inform this Council:
(a) as SCA's mentioned on that day that quite a number of CSD members agreed that the selection of the Chief Executive (CE) by universal suffrage should be implemented first, before dealing with the election of all Members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) by universal suffrage, whether the Green Paper on Constitutional Development to be published in the near future will include the option of concurrently implementing election by universal suffrage of both CE and all Members of LegCo;
(b) given SCA's remark on that day that the difference among CSD members was whether the functional constituencies (FC) seats of LegCo should be abolished immediately in one go or progressively, whether this implies that the Green Paper will not include any options which seek to retain a certain number of FC seats in the end; and
(c) since SCA said on that day that he hoped that the options put forth would have wide support among the public, how, in deciding whether individual options should be included in the Green Paper, it will assess if these options will be widely supported by the public, when members of the public do not know and have not yet discussed those options; and of the method to be used for assessing the level of public support for the various options in the Green paper and details of such an assessment method?
(a) We will publish a green paper on constitutional development on the basis of the discussions of the Commission on Strategic Development (CSD) and the community in the past 20 months. The green paper will present three types of options for implementing universal suffrage for electing the Chief Executive and for forming the Legislative Council (LegCo) respectively to facilitate public understanding and discussion. Aside from those which are inconsistent with the Basic Law, we have not ruled out any options at this stage. The proposal put forth by the 22 LegCo members, together with other proposals, will all be covered by the green paper.
(b) Currently, as a matter of fact, CSD members still have significant differences on the model for forming LegCo by universal suffrage, particularly on how to deal with the functional constituencies. Nonetheless, when we publish the green paper, except those which are inconsistent with the Basic Law, all proposals on the models for forming LegCo by universal suffrage which we have received will be covered by the green paper.
(c) To attain universal suffrage, any options for implementing universal suffrage should be consistent with the Basic Law, and should not require any amendments to the main provisions of the Basic Law. Also, we hope that the relevant options are likely to:
(1) attract majority support among Hong Kong people;
(2) stand a reasonable chance of securing two-thirds majority in LegCo; and
(3) stand a reasonable chance of being considered seriously by the Central Authorities.
Until now, we have not taken a view on which three types of options to be presented in the green paper. Nonetheless, all proposals put forth by different political parties, organisations and individuals to CSD will be covered by the green paper.
Regarding how we can assess the level of public support for different options after the green paper has been published, the objective criteria that can be considered include:
(i) whether an option can obtain support from over 60 per cent of the public by making reference to the opinion polls conducted by different academic institutions and local organisations; and
(ii) whether an option can secure support from two-thirds of the Members of LegCo.
Ends/Wednesday, June 27, 2007