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Government's response to July 1 procession

   In response to the procession today (July 1), a Government spokesman said that the SAR Government fully respected the rights of the public to take part in the procession and their freedom of expression, and would listen to the views expressed in a humble manner.

   "On democratic development, the Legislative Council passed by a two-thirds majority on June 24 and June 25 respectively the motions put forth by the HKSAR Government concerning the amendments to the methods for the selection of the Chief Executive and for the formation of the Legislative Council in 2012," the spokesman said.

   "The 2012 constitutional reform package will significantly enhance the democratic elements of the two electoral methods. In particular, for the LegCo election, with the addition of five new geographical constituency (GC) seats and five new District Council functional constituency (FC) seats, nearly 60% of the seats in the LegCo will have an electorate base of over 3 million voters. Every registered voter will have two votes in the 2012 LegCo election, one for GCs, and the other for FCs.

   "The passage of the 2012 constitutional reform package by the LegCo will give the Hong Kong community greater confidence and a better platform to forge a consensus on the issue of universal suffrage in future, including how the FCs should be dealt with, and pave the way for implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive and the LegCo in 2017 and 2020.

   "To take forward this democratic package, we will solicit views on the specific arrangements and details of the two elections in 2012 at the meeting of the LegCo's Constitutional Affairs Panel in July. We will draw up local legislative proposals during the summer recess and consult the LegCo on the proposals when it resumes business in autumn.

   "The HKSAR Government also fully appreciates the concern of the community about the issue of universal suffrage. The HKSAR Government has reiterated that the future universal suffrage models must comply with the relevant requirements of the Basic Law and the principles of equality and universality. We hope that, in the next few years, the Hong Kong community can adopt a rational, pragmatic and accommodating attitude to forge consensus on the implementation of universal suffrage," the spokesman added.

   Noting that the procession has raised other livelihood-related demands including the minimum wage, the spokesman said, "The objective of legislating for a minimum wage is to devise an optimal statutory minimum wage regime which provides an hourly wage floor to forestall excessively low wages without unduly affecting our labour market flexibility, economic growth and competitiveness and causing significant loss in low-paid jobs.

   "The Provisional Minimum Wage Commission is now working at full steam in deliberating the initial minimum wage rate for recommendation to the Government before the end of this summer. In the process, it will make reference to the statistical data collected by the Census and Statistics Department and stakeholders' views gathered during the consultation period."

Ends/Thursday, July 1, 2010