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Transcript of SCA's stand-up briefing

Following is the transcript (English portion) of a media session by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs (SCA), Mr Stephen Lam, after attending the RTHK's programme "The 10th Anniversary of the Party Line" today (November 23):

SCA: It has been suggested for some time that the Government should consider enacting a political party law. But the essence of the proponents really is that the Government should set aside resources, in particular financial resources, to help political parties develop their work, for example, in the election arena. All of us know that, at this present moment, the Government faces a situation of budgetary deficit. All the departments of the Government have to narrow their expenditure base. It is therefore particularly difficult for us to consider the question and to set aside additional resources to help promote the work of political parties. But for now, I am continuing to listen to various views, and comes the time when we announce the package for 2004 Legislative Council elections we will respond substantively and give a final decision on this matter.

Reporter: Can you repeat in English ?

SCA: The question was put to me whether the formation of political parties in Hong Kong would have further progress and room for development. It is very clear that in the course of the last 10 years or so, political parties and political groups have made substantial progress. For example, the number of Members in the Legislative Council which have political parties and political groups background have increased from one sixth to the present two thirds. So the overall direction is very clear. Unification, banding together adds to the strength of people who wish to take part in politics, to take part in elections. At the same time, in the longer run, as we proceed down the path of constitutional developments making gradual and orderly progress, I believe there will still be room for independent candidates and political parties and groups which have a smaller base of support to continue to take part in the political process in Hong Kong. I believe that this is in the overall interest of Hong Kong's constitutional developments.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion)

End/Saturday, November 23, 2002.