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LCQ16: Composition of the Election Committee

     Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (October 20):


     On June 24 this year, the Legislative Council passed a motion concerning the amendment to the method for the selection of the Chief Executive (CE), which stipulated that the number of members of the Election Committee (EC) responsible for electing CE in 2012 would be increased from 800 to 1 200, with the number of seats for each of the four sectors increased by 100. Apart from proposing the allocation of 75 of the 100 new seats for the fourth sector (i.e. the political sector) to elected District Council members, the Executive Authorities have not stated clearly how the new seats for the other sectors will be allocated. Many members of the public are of the view that real estate developers have excessive direct and indirect influence in EC, and their weight in this regard should be diluted when the local legislation is being made. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:

(a) whether they have assessed if real estate developers are having excessive influence in EC; if they have, of the details; of the reasons for coming up with such a design in the first place; and whether they will make adjustments when local legislation is being made; if they will not, of the reasons for that; and

(b) whether they will enhance the democratic elements of EC as far as practicable to allow participation of more members of the public; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     My reply to the Hon Lau's questions is as follows:

(a) According to Annex I to the Basic Law, the Chief Executive (CE) shall be elected by a broadly representative Election Committee (EC). In accordance with the principle of balanced participation, the EC is composed of four sectors, namely the industrial, commercial and financial sectors; the professions; the labour, social services, religious and other sectors; members of the Legislative Council (LegCo), representatives of district-based organisations, Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress, and representatives of Hong Kong members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. The four sectors of the existing EC are broadly representative. They enable representatives from different strata and sectors of the community to participate in the CE election.

(b) Hong Kong has taken a significant step forward in its constitutional development. In June, the LegCo passed the draft amendments to the methods for selecting the CE and for forming the LegCo in 2012. The CE subsequently signed instruments of consent to the draft amendments. The amendments were then approved and recorded respectively by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in August. According to the amendments to the method for selecting the CE, the representativeness and the democratic elements of the EC will be further enhanced. The number of members of the EC will be increased from 800 to 1,200. The number of seats for each of the sectors will be increased by 100. As regards the fourth sector, the Administration suggested that three quarters of the 100 new seats (i.e. 75 seats) will be allocated to elected District Council (DC) members. Together with the existing 42 seats, the DC subsector will have a total of 117 seats, which will be returned through election from among elected DC members. It is hoped that the inclusion of elected DC members, who will be returned by over 3.4 million voters, will enhance public participation in the EC and its representativeness. This will also enhance the democratic elements of the CE election. The Administration is now working on the local legislation regarding the two electoral methods. We plan to consult the LegCo on the proposals before the end of October and hope that the bills will be passed in a few months' time.

Ends/Wednesday, October 20, 2010