The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, attended a Government forum to listen to public views on the Consultation Document on the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2012 this (January 11) evening. Following is the transcript of his remarks (English portion) to the media after the forum:
Today, during this open forum, we have received different sorts of views regarding constitutional development. There are citizens who support that we have complied with the decision taken by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to implement universal suffrage for the Chief Executive (CE) in 2017 and for the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2020. There are those who still wish to seek the implementation of universal suffrage in 2012. As far as the HKSAR Government is concerned, we would welcome views from all sides.
I would also like to take this opportunity to give our response to the announcement by two political parties of the LegCo that they wish to resign from five geographical constituencies. The HKSAR Government considers these resignations to be unnecessary for three reasons.
Firstly, the Basic Law does not provide any mechanism for conducting a referendum. If we wish to make amendments to the electoral methods for the CE and for the LegCo, we have to go through a five-step constitutional procedure. It is necessary for both the Government and the legislature to comply with the Basic Law and the relevant interpretations and decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Secondly, LegCo members and the HKSAR Government both have a constitutional duty and responsibility to work together to address the issue of constitutional development in 2012.
Thirdly, the HKSAR Government had already published a green paper back in 2007 on constitutional development. We therefore initiated at that time extensive community discussions on the universal suffrage timetable, electoral methods and roadmap. In submitting his report to Beijing for the consideration by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the CE faithfully reflected public opinions expressed by the community at that time.
In opinion polls which we collected from universities and other think tanks, more than half of the public supported the implementation of universal suffrage by 2012. The CE also made clear in his report that the Central Authorities should take seriously and give consideration to these views. At the same time, about 60 per cent of the public, according to opinion polls, would accept the implementation of universal suffrage for returning the CE first in 2017 if this could not be attained in 2012.
We understand as a government that these two political parties would wish to resign and would take a different view on the models for implementing universal suffrage elections. However, as far as we are concerned, we believe that different political parties and Members of the LegCo can certainly support that we should have progress in 2012 for the two electoral methods and thereafter continue to address and to secure the support for the ideal universal suffrage models which they believe would merit their support.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Monday, January 11, 2010
SCMA attends Open Forum (1)
Photo shows the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, attending an open forum this (January 11) evening to listen to public views on the methods for selecting the Chief Executive and for forming the Legislative Council in 2012. Accompanying him are (from right) the Under Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Miss Adeline Wong; the Under Secretary for Home Affairs, Ms Florence Hui; and the Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Pamela Tan.
SCMA attends Open Forum (2)
Photo shows Mr Lam speaking at the forum.