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 afternoon session of the special meeting of the Legislative Council Constitutional Affairs Panel this afternoon (June 18):
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: With regard to the opinion of the Bar Association issued yesterday, I would like to emphasise that the HKSAR Government, in proposing the replacement mechanism when vacancies arise in future, we have actually sought legal advice. We are confident that our proposals are consistent with the Basic Law.
Article 68 of the Basic Law prescribes that the Legislative Council shall be constituted by elections. In future, we will still be basing our replacement candidate lists on the general election to be held starting from September 2012. Therefore, the requirement that we constitute the Legislative Council through elections will be met.
Article 26 of the Basic Law provides that permanent residents of Hong Kong shall have the right to stand for elections and have the right to cast their votes. In future, starting from September 2012, like previously, permanent residents of Hong Kong can cast their votes and stand in elections so Article 26 will be respected.
Also, Annex II of the Basic Law provides that it is for the HKSAR Government to propose election bills to the Legislative Council for consideration. That is precisely what we have done now. It is the joint responsibility of the Legislative Council and the Government to respond to the clear community opinion expressed last year – that we need to plug this loophole whereby individual legislators can choose to resign at will to instigate by-elections and to promote the so-called "referendum".
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Saturday, June 18, 2011
SCMA speaks to the media