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SCMA's response to media questions

     Following is the transcript of the answers (English portion) given by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, to questions posed by the media after Mr Lam attended the Legislative Council's Constitutional Affairs Panel meeting today (February 16):

Reporter: Lawmakers are saying that if there is not a proposal that includes the roadmap for 2017 and 2020, they are threatening to veto it again. What is your position on that?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Well, I would say that when we attained a universal suffrage timetable in December 2007, Hong Kong society as a whole made significant constitutional progress. The timetable for implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive in 2017 and for all members of the Legislative Council in 2020 was a significant step forward. It provided clear directions for the Hong Kong community to pursue in the next decade or so, for Hong Kong to make progress, to implement democracy. So, we do believe that it is necessary, that there is a duty both on the part of the Government and on the part of the legislature, including different political parties and individual members, to engender consensus to enable Hong Kong to move forward. We have not yet proffered or proposed a scheme for 2012. And it is premature for any particular legislator to determine that he or she or their political parties would veto the scheme.

Reporter: Do you think that they should focus only on 2012?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: The responsibility and the role of the third-term HKSAR Government is to implement the two electoral methods for 2012 for returning the Chief Executive and the legislature in that year. We have already attained a universal suffrage timetable within the first six months of our five-year term. We have set important directions for Hong Kong society to pursue democracy. We believe that it is necessary for these important questions to be dealt with in stages over the next nine to 12 years. We believe that progress can be made in different stages. I would also emphasise that there is expectation on the part of the community for the Government and different political parties in the Legislative Council to engender consensus. And it is our responsibility as people who take part in political life in Hong Kong to do that for Hong Kong.

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

Ends/Monday, February 16, 2009