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Transcript of SCA's standup briefing

The following is the transcript (English portion) of the standup briefing given by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, this (December 10) morning after visiting the polling station at the Sai Ying Pun Community Complex Community Hall:

Reporter: What factors you see have contributed to such an increase in the turnout rates?

Secretary for Constitutional Affairs: The Election Committee elections being held today is a very important and critical step in the preparation for election of the third-term Chief Executive (CE) to be returned in March 2007. The Election Committee is composed in such a way as to represent different sectors of Hong Kong community, including the professional sector, the social service sector, the business sector and different political sectors. It is very important that all those who are registered as voters in the Election Committee should come out today and cast their votes, make clear their choices of candidates representing their respective sectors . The composition of the Election Committee is meant to provide a balance representation of Hong Kong community in the selection of the CE.

So far, up to 10:30 am today, over 6,000 voters have cast their votes and in percentage terms, this amounts to over 2.9 per cent. This is higher than the corresponding rates which were registered during the same period back in year 2000. We believe that as a result of more intense competition this time round, the overall participation and turnout rates will be higher. I think in particular because in the professional sector, in the District Councils, in sectors such as these, there are different camps of candidates vying for support among the voters. So we can expect to see a higher turnout rate today.

On the whole, I think this is productive, this is positive for Hong Kong because over time we have been able to achieve higher turnout rates both for the Legislative Council and District Council elections in the last few years. And I very much hope that today for the Election Committee sub-sector elections, we will be able to make further progress.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Sunday, December 10, 2006