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Roadmap outlined for attaining universal suffrage

     In response to media enquiries regarding the remarks made by Legislative Councillor Albert Chan on RTHK's “Letter to Hong Kong” broadcast today (September 13), a Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau spokesman said that an implementation roadmap for attaining universal suffrage had already been outlined following the National People’s Congress Standing Committee's decision to make clear the universal suffrage timetable.

     The spokesman said, “According to the Standing Committee decision in December 2007, the Chief Executive (CE) may be elected by universal suffrage in 2017 and all Members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) may be elected by universal suffrage in 2020. Between 2008 and 2012, we should focus on dealing with the 2012 electoral arrangements so as to roll forward Hong Kong's electoral methods to a mid-way point.

     “As for the specific models for implementing universal suffrage, the fourth-term CE and the fifth-term LegCo should, between 2012 and 2017, address together the method for implementing universal suffrage for the CE in 2017.

     “The CE returned by universal suffrage in 2017 will have to work with the sixth-term LegCo to deal with the issue of universal suffrage models for the LegCo in 2020.”

     The spokesman further said that by attaining the universal suffrage timetable, the third-term HKSAR Government, led by the CE, Mr Donald Tsang, had achieved much more substantive progress in taking forward Hong Kong’s constitutional development than any previous Administration.

     "The Government issued the Green Paper on Constitutional Development in just 11 days after inauguration in July 2007.  The CE had reflected faithfully the views collected during the public consultation in his report to the Central Authorities, including the public aspiration for attaining universal suffrage. Having considered the CE's report, the Standing Committee adopted the decision which made clear the universal suffrage timetable,” he said.

     "The HKSAR Government will consult the public and the LegCo on the electoral methods for the CE and the LegCo for 2012 in the fourth quarter of this year. It would be irresponsible of any LegCo Member to suggest that the Government’s proposal would not enhance the democratic elements of the electoral system even before it has been introduced.

     “Now that the universal suffrage timetable has been set, we call upon political parties and groups, as well as different quarters of our community to keep an open mind and be accommodating, and to work together with the HKSAR Government towards securing consensus for implementing universal suffrage for the CE in 2017 and for LegCo in 2020.”

Ends/Sunday, September 13, 2009