|Government's proposed 07/08 electoral package best way forward for democratic development
In response to media enquiries on the remarks made by a Legislative Council ("LegCo") Member today (December 14) that constitutional development could be taken forward through local legislation even if the proposed package were voted down, a Government spokesman said that such remarks were misleading.
The spokesman emphasised, "The proposed package put forward in the Fifth Report is the most direct way to broaden substantially public participation in the two electoral process within the framework of the Basic Law and the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ("NPCSC") in April 2004."
He said, "Under the proposed package, over one-fourth of the 1,600 Election Committee members, including LegCo Members returned by geographical constituencies and 400 elected District Council ("DC") members, will be returned through universal suffrage by over 3 million voters. The representativeness of the 2007 Chief Executive election will be greatly enhanced."
"As for the LegCo, of all the 10 new seats, five will be returned through geographical constituencies, while the other five new functional constituencies will be returned through elections by DC members from among themselves. Close to 60% of all LegCo seats will be elected directly and indirectly by over 3 million voters."
The spokesman added, "Since the release of the electoral package, various opinion polls have indicated that a majority of Hong Kong people support the package. They also agree that the electoral arrangements for 2007/08 should be handled separately from the issue of a timetable for universal suffrage. The public certainly do not wish to lose the opportunity to make progress on the electoral arrangements in 2007 and 2008."
"We hope that LegCo Members will respect the wishes of the public when casting their votes on December 21."
"The Government is keenly aware of the public's aspiration for a timetable for universal suffrage. The Commission on Strategic Development has already commenced discussion on a roadmap for universal suffrage," the spokesman noted.
On the relationship between the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR") and the proposed package, the spokesman reiterated that the package was consistent with the provisions of the Basic Law and the Interpretation and Decision of the NPCSC in April 2004, and was not inconsistent with the provisions of the ICCPR as applied to Hong Kong.
Ends/Wednesday, December 14, 2005