|SCA on upcoming Legco elections
Following is the transcript (English portion) of the remarks made by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, at a stand-up briefing after officiating at a press conference by the RTHK to announce details of programmes on the 2004 Legislative Council Election this (August 5) morning:
Reporter: Do you think the election will be a competitive one?
SCA: This time round we have an all-time high record of over 160 candidates standing for the Legislative Council Election. We also have a record high of about 3.2 million registered voters. So I expect this election to be competitive. And I would call on all candidates and their supporters to abide by the rules and collectively preserve our uncorrupt and open electoral system. I would also call on all registered voters to come out and cast their votes on September 12, so that they can select the candidates of their choice to represent them in the Legislative Council.
Reporter: Can you say a few words about the strategies adopted by the political parties?
SCA: This time round, about the Legislative Council Election in September, there are two interesting phenomena. First of all, there are political parties, which all these years, have only focused on functional constituencies elections, but they are moving towards universal suffrage direct elections. The second phenomenon is that different parties and political groups have forecast, have discussed, have analysed their base of support in their respective regions. So there are those who have aligned themselves into a list of seven or eight people. There are those who have decided to split their lists into two. So I think this goes to show that the political parties, political groups, independent candidates in Hong Kong are maturing gradually and are progressing towards a situation whereby they have a firmer grasp of the political support that they have in Hong Kong. Also they are able to make full possible use of the room which they can secure within our electoral system.
Reporter: Can you comment on the progress for direct elections?
SCA: This time round because we have half of the seats which are going to be returned by direct elections, I believe this is going to be a most important election. The Legislative Council to be formed for the third term in September this year will help to shape our constitutional development progress. We will need to secure two-thirds majority in the house for any package on electoral reform to be approved and to be taken forward. So we are not just electing a Legislative Council for the third term. We are electing a council which will help shape our constitutional future. This is important and that is why everybody who has registered should seriously consider to come out and vote on September 12.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Thursday, August 5, 2004