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Response to European Parliament's resolution on constitutional development in HK

In response to media enquiries on the passage of a motion for resolution by the European Parliament regarding constitutional development in Hong Kong, a Government spokesman today (December 16) reaffirmed that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government was fully committed to achieving the ultimate aim of universal suffrage as enshrined in the Basic Law.

"In October this year, the HKSAR Government put forth a package of proposals which aims at further opening up the methods for selecting the Chief Executive (CE) in 2007 and forming the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2008. The two elections are important milestones in our move forwards greater democratisation," the spokesman said.

"Under the proposed package, of the 1,600 Election Committee members, over 400 (including elected District Council (DC) members and LegCo Members) will be elected directly or indirectly by over three million voters."

"As for LegCo, of the 10 new seats, five will be returned by geographical constituencies, and the five new functional constituency seats will be returned through elections by DC members from among themselves. Close to 60% of all LegCo seats will be elected directly or indirectly by over three millions voters," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the proposed package would greatly enhance the democratic representation in the two electoral methods and bring significant progress to Hong Kong's constitutional development.

"We hope that foreign governments and legislatures will continue to respect the principle that HKSAR's electoral arrangements should be made in accordance with the Basic Law and the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress made in April 2004."

According to the Basic Law, progress towards the ultimate aim of universal suffrage should be made in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress and in the light of the actual situation in Hong Kong.

The spokesman added, "The HKSAR Government is clearly aware of the community's aspirations on universal suffrage. At the same time, various opinion polls have indicated that most people support the proposed package, and that they also agree that the electoral arrangements for 2007/08 should be handled separately from the issue of a timetable for universal suffrage."

"The Commission on Strategic Development has already commenced discussion on a roadmap for universal suffrage. The Commission aims at concluding discussions on the principles and concepts relating to universal suffrage by mid-2006, and on the design of a universal suffrage system for the CE and the legislature by early 2007."

Ends/Friday, December 16, 2005