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Government committed to attaining the aim of universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law

In response to media enquiries regarding the remarks made by Mrs Anson Chan on Hong Kong's constitutional development today (July 19), a spokesman for the Constitutional Affairs Bureau made the following response:

"Both the Central Authorities and the Government are fully alive to the community's aspirations on universal suffrage.

"After its establishment last November, the Commission on Strategic Development (CSD) has already discussed the principles and concepts about universal suffrage and has drawn conclusions that, in implementing universal suffrage, we should comply with the principle of gradual and orderly progress, meet the actual situation in Hong Kong, facilitate the development of the capitalist economy and address the interests of different sectors of society.

"Following last year's wide discussion on the proposed package for the electoral methods for 2007/08, the Government has already brought the discussion about constitutional development to a new stage. We will begin discussion on models for implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive at the CSD meeting on July 28. Discussion on models for implementing universal suffrage for the Legislative Council will also begin in the next six months.

"The Government hopes that these discussions will help the community reach a consensus on constitutional development, and welcomes individuals and organisations from different sectors of the community to put forth specific proposals for consideration by all parties concerned.

"We will prepare a report to draw conclusions on the discussion of the CSD by early 2007, and will reflect these conclusions to the Central Authorities. We hope that this can provide a wider basis for further promoting constitutional development during the period from 2007 to 2012."

Ends/Wednesday, July 19, 2006