|LCQ4: The Fifth Report of the Constitutional Development Task Force
Following is a question by Dr Hon Yeung Sum and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (October 19):
Early this month, the Government indicated that it will publish The Fifth Report of the Constitutional Development Task Force after the delivery of the Policy Address. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) how the proposals in the above Report will respond to the public's requests for setting a timetable for universal suffrage, abolishing corporate votes in functional constituency elections, abolishing the appointment of members to District Councils, and significantly broadening the electorate of the Election Committee, etc;
(b) of the concrete procedural arrangements and timetable for implementing the Report's proposals to amend the methods for selecting the Chief Executive and for forming the Legislative Council; and
(c) how it will relay to the Central Government the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong for the expeditious implementation of democratic arrangements for electing the Chief Executive and Legislative Council Members by universal suffrage?
Regarding matters relating to the Fifth Report of the Constitutional Development Task Force, I believe that Members are already aware of the arrangement that the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) will make a statement on the Fifth Report after the question time to brief Members in detail the Government’s proposals on the methods for electing the Chief Executive (CE) in 2007 and the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2008.
As for the questions raised by Hon Yeung Sum, we would like to offer the following response.
Regarding the first part of the question, since its establishment in January 2004, the Task Force has been collecting views from the general public and different sectors of the community on the issue of constitutional development. The package of proposals put forth by the Government is the product of wide-ranging and open public consultation conducted in different stages during the past year or so. In formulating the package of proposals, the Task Force has considered carefully the views of the community.
Regarding the second part of the question, if the LegCo can reach consensus on the two electoral methods, it is our hope that we can complete the legislative work relating to amendments to Annexes I and II to the Basic Law before the end of this year, and that we can work on local legislation related to the 2007 CE election in early 2006. The local legislation related to the 2008 LegCo election will be dealt with in 2007.
Regarding the third part of the question, after having deliberated on issues related to constitutional development for a year or so, the Central Authorities, the SAR Government and the Hong Kong community all have acquired an understanding of the position taken by various parties. Like most Hong Kong people, the Central Authorities and the SAR Government wish to see progress in constitutional development. The proposals to be presented to Members by CS later on represent the best endeavours made by the SAR Government within the room available. It is a package that can best meet the actual situation of Hong Kong and respond to public aspirations on the two electoral methods. The immediate task ahead of us is to deal with the legislative work relating to the two electoral methods. As for the direction for future constitutional development, the Task Force will continue to explore issues involved with various sectors of Hong Kong, including the LegCo.
Ends/Wednesday, October 19, 2005