Following is the transcript of the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Mr Stephen Lam's answers to questions raised by the media after attending a meeting of the Legislative Council Panel on Constitutional Affairs this afternoon (May 17):
Reporter: About improving dialogue with the pan-democrats?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Last week we put forth to the Alliance for Universal Suffrage the suggestion that we can meet at a working level during this week, say on Thursday. The understanding is that, on the part of the Government, we would be very prepared to explain to them in greater detail the proposals which we have already put forth to the Legislative Council (LegCo) regarding the 2012 electoral package. On the part of the Alliance, I would expect them, if they so wish, to explain in further details the proposals which they have put forth. But, of course, so far as the HKSAR Government is concerned, under the Basic Law and under the 2007 National People's Congress Standing Committee's decision, we are only authorised to deal with the 2012 electoral arrangements. If the Alliance wishes to put forth ideas beyond 2012, the Administration is very prepared to listen. We will consolidate and summarise any views received, so that the next-term HKSAR Government can pursue those ideas and consider those proposals.
Reporter: So when will this meeting take place?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: We have suggested that we can meet on Thursday this week, and we are awaiting confirmation on their part as to whether this is convenient. But it is important that we keep our arrangements flexible, so that between now and mid-July when the LegCo rises for the summer recess, we will be able to secure support from among different political parties, different organisations, so that we stand the best possible chance of gaining passage by two-thirds majority in the LegCo.
Reporter: During the LegCo panel meeting, Wong Kwok-hing mentioned that he heard rumours that those who are re-elected may resign again. Would the Government speed up the plugging of the loophole?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: We have just completed the conducting of the by-elections yesterday. In the last few months, the Hong Kong community have expressed very clear views that legislators who have been elected during a general election to serve the community for four years should remain in office, and reflect the views of Hong Kong people and deal with critical legislative proposals. Therefore, as far as the HKSAR Government is concerned, we are looking very seriously at the possibilities for amending the Legislative Council Ordinance so as to prevent an unnecessary recurrence of resignations and by-elections. We have just incurred over $150 million to conduct this series of by-elections. The by-elections could really have been avoided. But now that we have completed the by-election cycle, the people of Hong Kong have a full complement of 60 Members to serve them in the legislature.
Reporter: How many more votes do you need for easy passage of the 2012 political reform package?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: We haven't completed our lobbying exercise.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Monday, May 17, 2010