Following is a question by the Hon Alan Leong and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 23):
According to Article 25(b) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, "every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity without unreasonable restrictions to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage". But the Deputy Secretary-General of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Mr Qiao Xiaoyang, said on June 7 that "the core details of universal suffrage is the protection of universal and equal election rights", but he did not mention the right to stand for election and the right to make nomination. Mr Qiao also said in his statement that "the future nominating committee for the selection of the Chief Executive (CE) will nominate candidates in accordance with 'democratic procedures', and the method of nomination will be entirely different from that of the existing Election Committee for the selection of CE, under which candidates are nominated jointly by 100 members, and the two are not comparable"; and that "functional constituencies have existed since electoral system was introduced to Hong Kong, and objective assessments should be made". Regarding the CE and Legislative Council (LegCo) elections (the two elections), will the Government inform this Council whether:
(a) the aforesaid remarks made by Mr Qiao represent the definition for universal suffrage adopted by the Central People's Government and the SAR Government for implementing universal suffrage for the selection of CE and the formation of LegCo and their stance on universal suffrage; if not, of the relevant definition and stance, and how they differ from the remarks made by Mr Qiao; and
(b) it has assessed if there will be division in society and rampant discontent among the people of Hong Kong in the event that the motions on the arrangements of the two elections to be conducted in 2012 to be moved by the SAR Government for voting by this Council today were voted down; if the result of the assessment is in the affirmative, how the SAR Government will deal with such a situation?
My reply to the question raised by the Hon Alan Leong is as follows:
(a) The consistent position of the HKSAR Government is that when universal suffrage is implemented in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law, it must comply with the relevant requirements of the Basic Law and the principles of universality and equality. The Chief Executive (CE) has made clear the principles relating to universal suffrage in the Report on Public Consultation on Green Paper on Constitutional Development submitted to the Standing Committee of National People's Congress (NPCSC) in December 2007. After considering the CE's report, the NPCSC made a decision to make clear the timetable for universal suffrage.
(b) The HKSAR Government will make its best endeavours to obtain the endorsement of the Legislative Council (LegCo) for the 2012 constitutional reform package, so as to pave the way for implementing universal suffrage for the CE in 2017 and for the LegCo in 2020.
Ends/Wednesday, June 23, 2010