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Transcript of SCA's press briefing

The following is the transcript of a stand-up briefing by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after attending Radio Television Hong Kong's live broadcast TV programme "City Forum" this afternoon (October 23) (English portion):

Reporter: On the package, how hopeful are you that you will get it passed through the Legco as it seems to be some division?

SCA: As things stand, we still have not secured enough votes to have the two-thirds majority in the Legislative Council to support this Fifth Report proposed constitutional reform package. But we will do our very best and make our best endeavours to secure that support in the forthcoming two months.

We believe that the package that we have put forth has a high degree of democratic elements. First of all, we are not creating any new functional constituencies in the traditional sense, no new chambers of commerce or trade unions or professional bodies. Instead, we are relying very heavily on the broad electorate base of elected District Councillors. We believe this is a possible step forward.

Secondly, we also want to make our best efforts to get the community and the Legislative Council to support this package, because this will open up more seats in the Legislative Council and more room through the expansion of the Election Committee to allow us to groom more political talents, and to enable those who have a commitment to serve the Hong Kong public to take part in the election of the Chief Executive and in the work of the Legislative Council. We hope that all parties concerned, whether they belong to the pan-democratic camp or other political parties, will see this and accept this as a positive step forward.

Finally, I would like to say that the Government is committed to securing consensus on the way forward for attaining universal suffrage in Hong Kong. And that is why the Chief Executive is going to extend the membership of the Commission on Strategic Development. And as part of that Commission, we will have a political sub-group to map out collectively the way forward on attaining universal suffrage. And we want to invite members of political parties, academics, representatives of the business sector and trade unions and other participants, so that we will use this as a sort of constitutional forum to generate consensus within the many strands of views in this community.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Sunday, October 23, 2005