|LC: Speech by SCA in moving motion on amendment to LegCo formation method
Following is the speech (English translation) by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in moving the Motion on the Amendment to the Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council at the Legislative Council meeting today (December 21):
I hereby move that the second motion standing under my name in the agenda, that is, the Motion on the Amendment to the Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council ("LegCo"), be passed.
According to the "(Draft) Amendment to Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China Regarding the Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and its Voting Procedures" (referred to as "Annex II (Draft) Amendment" hereinafter) annexed to the motion, the fourth term LegCo in 2008 shall be composed of 70 members with 35 returned by functional constituencies ("FC") and 35 returned by geographical constituencies ("GC") through direct elections. Regarding the arrangement for the five newly added FC seats, the Administration has stated clearly its policy: i.e. all the five seats will be returned through election by all District Council members from among themselves. Accordingly, the number of seats returned by the District Council FC will be increased from one at present to six.
If the motion is passed by a two-thirds majority of all the Members of the LegCo, the Annex II (Draft) Amendment annexed to the motion will be submitted to the Chief Executive for consent, and thence for reporting by the Chief Executive to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ("NPCSC") for the record.
The feature of the package is to enhance democratic representation in the method for forming the LegCo in 2008 by enhancing the level of participation by District Council members in LegCo election. This package has not come easily. The SAR Government has spared no effort in formulating a package that embodies open democracy to the highest extent possible, and that is consistent with the relevant provisions of the Basic Law and the Interpretation and Decision made by the NPCSC last year.
From the perspective of constitutional development, the proposed package has three major advantages:
First, all of the five new FC seats are allocated to the District Council FC rather than 'traditional' FCs. These seats will be returned through election by District Council members from among themselves. Among the District Council members, three-quarters are elected by more than three million registered voters in Hong Kong. Thus, close to 60% of the LegCo seats in 2008 will be returned directly or indirectly by more than three million registered voters in Hong Kong. Representativeness of LegCo will thus be further enhanced.
Second, the addition of five new GC seats returned through direct elections and five new FC seats returned through election by District Council members from among themselves will provide more room for people from difference sectors of the community, including political parties and political organisations, to participate in politics. The package will provide greater opportunities, in particular for those who have been working at the districts for a long time, to participate in the work of LegCo. In the long term, this will facilitate grooming political talents with parliamentary experience, and will provide more room for the development of political parties, thus laying a more solid foundation for the implementation of universal suffrage in future.
Third, the increase in the number of LegCo Members could help alleviate the increasing workload of LegCo, so that LegCo could more fully fulfill its roles and functions.
As regards the electoral method to be adopted for the District Council FC after the motion is passed (for example, whether it should be a block vote system or a proportional representation system), the Government has not taken a decision at this stage. We have listened to the views of LegCo Members in the Subcommittee, and will continue to listen to the views of Members and those of members of the public, and will implement the details in the context of the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill.
Madam President, as I have mentioned earlier, since the release of the proposed package, opinion polls conducted by various institutions have indicated that it has the majority support of the community. At the same time, the Administration has initiated the study on a roadmap for universal suffrage through the Commission on Strategic Development chaired by the Chief Executive, so as to address the aspirations of the community in this respect.
I have earlier explained the adjustment arrangement in respect of the number of appointed District Council members. If the package is endorsed, the electorate of the District Council FC will be based on the new composition of the DCs in the 2008 LegCo election. Democratic representation in the election will be further enhanced.
Madam President, I hope that Members will support the Motion on the Amendment to the Method for the Formation of the LegCo, so that Hong Kong's political system can take a substantive step towards the ultimate aim of universal suffrage.
Madam President, I urge Members to support the Motion.
Ends/Wednesday, December 21, 2005