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SCMA speaks to media after attending student exchange programme launching ceremony

     Following is the transcript of the remarks of the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, to the media after attending the launching ceremony of the "Administrative Management Elite Training Programme for the New Century 2010" organised by the Kowloon General Chamber of Commerce of Hong Kong this (July 18) morning:

     In the last two weeks or so, we have had meetings with a range of political parties and have listened to their views about the local legislation arrangements for 2012, for constitutional reforms. There are two major aspects in which there are views and concerns.

     Firstly, there are suggestions that we should move away from our policy position of restricting the nomination rights for the five new District Council Functional Constituency seats to District Councillors who are elected and their participation as candidates. We have to emphasise once again that when we adopted this policy in June, we made it clear that we have to ensure these five new seats will continue to be functional constituencies, and therefore restricting the right of nomination and the right to stand as candidates to elected District Councillors is a legal consideration, and is one of our fundamental policy considerations. We will continue, of course, to listen to the views from various political parties, but we will not easily move from this policy position.

     Also, various political parties have suggested that because the five new District Council Functional Constituency seats will involve an electorate of 3.2 million people, the election expense limit for these five new seats ought to be higher than those for geographical constituencies overall. We will consider their views very carefully and evaluate what sort of proposals we should put forth. By the autumn, we will make a final set of recommendations for consideration by the Legislative Council (LegCo). Starting from tomorrow, we will be listening to the views of the LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Sunday, July 18, 2010