In response to media enquiries on a joint statement issued by 23 Legislative Council Members today (January 19) regarding the Government's decision to postpone the public consultation on the 2012 electoral arrangements, a Government spokesman said :
"The Chief Executive announced on January 15 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 2012 electoral arrangements.
"Although the public consultation has been slightly postponed, the objective of the Government to determine the two electoral methods for 2012 within its tenure has not changed. We will continue to make preparations for the public consultation exercise and conduct internal studies on the subject. We will also listen to the views expressed within the community, which will serve as a reference for conducting the public consultation in the fourth quarter of this year.
"We will embark on the public consultation in the fourth quarter of 2009, and deal with the amendments to Annexes I and II to the Basic Law by no later than the fourth quarter of 2010. Thereafter, we will deal with local legislation before the summer of 2011, which will leave us sufficient time to make practical arrangements for the two elections to be held in 2012.
"The aim of the Government is to roll forward the electoral methods for 2012 to a mid-way point, so as to pave the way for implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive in 2017 and the Legislative Council in 2020."
Ends/Monday, January 19, 2009