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Transcript of SCA's standup on DC poll results

Following is the transcript (English portion) of a standup briefing given by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, at the Central Government Offices this afternoon (November 24):

SCA: The 2003 District Council election has been completed. The people of Hong Kong have made their choices clear. I believe that political parties involved and representatives who have been elected will respect the choices made by the people of Hong Kong. It is a cardinal principle of political party involvement in any community that the choices of people are paramount.

I also believe that the political parties and members who have been elected look forward to serving the public in their respective districts, and they will do their best, regardless of their political party background, to serve the districts in which they have been elected to represent the different communities, and they will also be prepared to work with one another to service the interests of the community.

On the part of the Government, it is our long-standing principle to work together with different political parties and with members who have been elected, to work in the best interests of the people of Hong Kong. It will be our long-standing practice to serve the public in all 18 districts, and it will be our mission to work closely with political parties concerned in the next four years to do so.

Reporter: What do you think about the voting results which show people's urge for more democracy?

SCA: I believe that the voter turnout rate yesterday was a record high and that this reflects various phenomena which have come about over the course of last decade or so.

Since the early 1990s, we have had many elections taking place in Hong Kong - direct elections to the Legislative Council and other elections. These elections have engendered a tradition of political involvement and participation in the Hong Kong community. Also, political parties over the last few years, they have done a lot to associate themselves more closely with the public and also to attract new blood into their parties so as to serve the public better and to participate more actively in each and every election.

As for the high voter turnout rate yesterday, I think one other factor is that on the part of the Government, and on the part of individual candidates and political parties (all parties concerned, all organisations involved) have done a lot to promote yesterday's election. So, this was also a factor which caused the higher voter turnout rate.

"Political events make politics". So the demonstration on July 1, yesterday's election, I believe, were important events in this year's political calendar. But, at the same time, we must not forget that the political process has begun for well over a decade in Hong Kong and that the people of Hong Kong are now getting more accustomed to involvement in the electoral process and also in terms of expressing views, through elections and other means.

Reporter: Do you think the District Council election results will make it more difficult for the Government to execute policies in the following years?

SCA: As regards the work at the District Council level, most of the time, the issues involved are issues of practical daily living, issues which are important to the respective community in different spheres.

I also hope that different political parties will continue with the tradition of dealing with the issues on a matter-of-fact basis. This is possible because from our experience over the years, practical issues deserve practical solutions. I also believe the fact that there has been a shift in the political party emphasis among the District Council membership should not change the fundamental principle of all political parties being willing to serve the people whom they have been elected to represent.

Reporter: What is your comment on the resignation of Mr Tsang as the chairman of the political party?

SCA: As a leader of a political party, I think it is a respectable position that he has taken and that he is willing to assume responsibility on the part of his party. It is a matter which all political leaders will need to bear in mind in terms of their involvement in public life. It is a matter on which the central committee of his party will need to take a view and to determine.

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

Ends/Monday, November 24, 2003