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First seminar on constitutional development on Monday

The Constitutional Development Task Force has commissioned the Central Policy Unit to hold the first seminar on constitutional development which will be held on Monday (May 24) afternoon.

The theme of the seminar will be the areas which may be considered for amendment in respect of the methods for the selection of the Chief Executive in 2007 and for forming the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2008, as set out in the Task Force's Third Report.

A government spokesman said today (May 22) that the seminar was organised to provide a forum for participants from different sectors to put forth their views and to facilitate mutual understanding through direct communication. To this end, it will be held again in June.

The participants will include Members of the Executive Council and LegCo, Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of District Councils, Election Committee (EC) Members, the academia, and representatives of think tanks, the legal sector, the industrial and commercial sector and other sectors.

Professor Edward Chen Kwan-yiu, President of the Lingnan University, has been invited to be the facilitator. The seminar will be held at the old wing of the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre in Wan Chai.

The spokesman said that the Task Force also welcomed written submissions and proposals from organisations and individuals on the areas which may be considered for amendments as set out in the Third Report, as well as other areas regarding the two election methods.

They would have to be submitted before August 31. Meetings with the Task Force could be arranged on request and as necessary, he added.

"We hope that, through the seminar, we can encourage the community to discuss, in a rational and pragmatic manner, on how the two election methods may be amended," he said.

On the method for selecting the CE, the areas which may be considered for amendment set out in the Third Report include the number of EC members, the composition of the EC, the delineation and size of the EC electorate, and the number of EC members required to nominate candidates for the office of the CE.

As to the method of forming LegCo, the areas which may be considered for amendment include the number of LegCo seats, the number of seats to be returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections, the number of seats to be returned through functional constituencies (FCs), the delineation and size of the FC electorate, and the rules in respect of allowing those with right of abode in foreign countries to be elected as LegCo members.

Ends/Saturday, May 22, 2004