Following is the transcript of the remarks by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in response to media questions after attending the Finance Committee meeting today (December 14) (English portion):
Reporter: If I remember correctly, during the discussions you have mentioned that the system is some kind of a political affiliation, networking system. What is the difference between this and an exclusive club that only rewards friends?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: In jurisdictions around the world, after an election, a head of government will work together with political parties and other personalities who are willing to support the implementation of his election manifesto. The situation is similar in Hong Kong. The Chief Executive has gone through an election in March this year. We have proposed adding two more tiers of political appointments to our current system whereby the Secretaries of the Government are politically appointed. This is similar to a cabinet-style government system. In future, the Chief Executive returned through elections will be able to nominate and appoint a team comprising 40 people. This will be a fuller political team. This will also enable the Chief Executive to implement his election manifesto with three tiers of political talent. It also means that we will have a system which will be ready when the Chief Executive is returned through universal suffrage. Come that day, whoever stands for election as Chief Executive will need an election team to craft the manifesto, to pull votes, and to gain support of different sectors. Whoever wins the election will be able to choose from among his election team and other sources the political talents who can form members of the cabinet and the deputies of Government Secretaries.
Reporter: What is the difference between the political affiliation network and the ... relationship politics?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Basically, what we envisage is that with a three-tier political appointment system in place, the Chief Executive would have channels available to him to form a political coalition with parties who have support in the legislature and who are ready to support the implementation of his election manifesto. There will be three channels. Firstly, the Chief Executive can appoint members of the Legislative Council to join the Executive Council. Secondly, the Chief Executive can nominate for appointment as principal officials people who have political party backgrounds. Thirdly, the Chief Executive, henceforth, and his principal officials, can nominate and appoint people who have political party backgrounds and who have other backgrounds to be Under-Secretaries and Political Assistants. In time, we will be able to establish a political coalition.
Reporter: What is the difference between that and ... relationship politics? You have no open recruitment for this and there is no approval of the appointees required by the legislature.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: My answer would be the Chief Executive is returned through election. In future, the Chief Executive will be returned through universal suffrage election. Therein lies the political endorsement of the community.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Friday, December 14, 2007