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Transcript of a standup briefing by SCA after attending a forum organised by SynergyNet

Following is the transcript (English portion) of a standup briefing given by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after attending a forum organised by SynergyNet this (September 26) afternoon:

Reporter: How long do you think this consultation will be extended?

SCA: I think basically back in mid-August, we extended the consultation period for the Third Report of the Constitutional Development Task Force by one month to the end of September. The thinking then was we hoped people who were standing in the Legislative Council election would be able to consolidate their views and organise their submissions after September 12 and put forth their views to us. We certainly hope that they will be able to do so and we are giving consideration to the latest proposal from certain members who have been elected to the Legislative Council that this deadline be extended further. We will give you a response fairly soon.

Reporter: What kind of things will you consider before you let the extension?

SCA: Basically we need to consider the time that we still have for conducting further rounds of public consultation, and what we need to do beyond the Third Report.

Reporter: (Please repeat the answer in English to the question on scope for political parties to develop.)

SCA: It is our view that the further development of constitutional system in Hong Kong will need to be taken forward and in so doing, the roles of political parties will continue to become more prominent and more critical. It is necessary for us to consider how best we can create more room to enable political parties, political groups, and individuals who have an intention to serve the people of Hong Kong to take part in Hong Kong's public life. The decisions which we take with regard to the systems for electing the Chief Executive in 2007 and the Legislative Council in 2008 will have an impact on this. For example, according to the views which we have received so far, there are some views which state that we should keep the number of Legislative Councillors at 60 for 2008. There are relatively more views which support a potential increase in the number of Legislative Councillors. Therefore, the decisions which we take on the final shape of these electoral systems for 2007 and 2008 will affect the room within which political parties and individuals can take part in Hong Kong's political life.

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

Ends/Sunday, September 26, 2004