In response to media enquiries on Government's response to the Human Rights Watch World Report 2009, a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau today (January 15) said:
"According to the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) in December 2007, Hong Kong may implement universal suffrage for the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council (Legco) in 2017 and 2020 respectively. As regards the two electoral methods for 2012, appropriate amendments consistent with the principle of gradual and orderly progress may also be made. We will deal with Hong Kong's constitutional development in phases, with a view to attaining universal suffrage.
"The aim of the current-term HKSAR Government is to determine the two electoral methods for 2012 within its tenure. This could lay a solid foundation for attaining universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020. Between 2012 and 2017, the fourth-term Chief Executive and the fifth-term Legco should address together the method for implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive taking office in 2017 will have to work with the Legco returned in 2016 and come up with proposals to attain universal suffrage for Legco in 2020. This Chief Executive, returned by universal suffrage, will have broad public support to lead the Hong Kong community to resolve the relevant issue.
"As to how the two electoral methods for 2012 should be amended, the HKSAR Government has yet to form any views. The Chief Executive announced today the decision to slightly postpone the public consultation to the fourth quarter of this year, so that the community can focus on dealing with the economic issues arising from the financial tsunami. The Chief Executive said that we would still have sufficient time to discuss and to forge consensus on the electoral arrangements. The objective of the HKSAR Government to determine the two electoral methods for 2012 within its tenure has not changed."
Ends/Thursday, January 15, 2009