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Government response: Hong Kong should focus on how 2012 electoral methods could be further democratised

     In response to media enquires regarding the remarks made by Legislative Councillor Audrey Eu on RTHK’s “Letter to Hong Kong” broadcast today (October 4), a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said that it was the constitutional responsibility of both the HKSAR Government and the Legislative Council (LegCo) Members to take forward Hong Kong’s democratic development in 2012, so as to pave the way for the implementation of universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020.
     "With the next Chief Executive (CE) and LegCo elections approaching, we should be, at this stage, focusing on how the two electoral methods for 2012 could be further democratised. It would not be conducive to implementing universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020 if we were to ignore the issue of how to change the 2012 electoral arrangements now," said the spokesman.

     The spokesman pointed out 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.

     "As a matter of fact, the HKSAR Government had already consulted the public on the models, roadmap and timetable for universal suffrage by issuing the Green Paper on Constitutional Development in July 2007. The CE had reflected faithfully the views collected during the public consultation in his report to the Central Authorities.

     "According to the results of the Green Paper public consultation, for the universal suffrage model for the CE, there are relatively more views that the formation of the nominating committee may make reference to the existing Election Committee. Also, the community generally agrees that, after the CE candidates have been nominated in accordance with democratic procedures, the CE should be elected by universal suffrage on the basis of one-person-one-vote.

     "As for the models, roadmap and timetable for forming the LegCo by universal suffrage, LegCo, various sectors of the community and the public hold diverse views, and no mainstream view had been formed," he said.

     The spokesman said that, having considered the CE's report, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the decision which made clear the universal suffrage timetable. The decision also stated that when universal suffrage was implemented, the CE should be elected in 2017 by all registered electors i.e. by one-person-one-vote.

     "We have already made it clear that any universal suffrage model for LegCo in 2020 should comply with the principles of universal and equal suffrage," he said.

     The spokesman said that the Government would 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, and would welcome the views of different sectors of the community and different political parties.

     "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 to take forward Hong Kong’s democratic development in 2012, so as to pave the way for implementing universal suffrage for the CE in 2017 and for LegCo in 2020."

Ends/Sunday, October 4, 2009