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SCMA speaks to the media

     The following is the transcript of the remarks (English portion) made by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, to the media after attending the Legislative Council Panel on Constitutional Affairs meeting this morning (May 24) :

Reporter: Voters use their ballots to elect or reject a candidate, so how could those defeated by the voters claim that they can represent the people as a lawmaker a few years down the road?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: What we are doing in respect of this proposal is to put forth this recommendation. Henceforth, in every general election of the Legislative Council, every vote cast by electors will have two effects. Firstly, they will elect a Legislative Councillor into the Council to serve the public. Secondly, the more votes they cast for a particular candidate list, the higher the possibility of that candidate list being able to field a candidate as a replacement Legislative Councillor in future if resignations or other vacancy situations arise.

     We are building this proposal on the basis of a proportional representation electoral system. This system would enable different lists of candidates to secure seats to the Legislative Council, and to secure the opportunity of allowing candidates on their lists to replace and to field any vacancies in future. So this is in consistency with the concept of proportional representation.

Reporter: Is this a backtracking on democracy when you will effectively scrap the right to vote and right to stand for election in a by-election?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: For the fifth-term Legislative Council in September 2012, we will be rolling forward democracy for Hong Kong. We will have a system of "one person, two votes". Every registered voter - over 3.43 million - will have a vote in the geographical direct elections, and a vote in the functional constituencies. We will have an increase of 10 seats for the fifth-term Legislative Council. Over 3 million voters will have a choice of close to 60% of the seats available. Also, in proposing this replacement mechanism, we are actually enabling the proportional representation electoral list system to take greater effect to ensure that the list of candidates who stand in the general election will carry the public support which they secure during the general election, both for the immediate results in September 2012, and for the remainder of the four-year term, the proportional representation system will take hold for that full term.

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

Ends/Tuesday, May 24, 2011