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SCA: Government to apply maximum effort to work with LegCo to take forward constitutional reform

The following is the transcript of a standup briefing by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after attending a radio phone-in programme this morning (February 14) (English portion):

Reporter: ...... constitutional reform, if there is no consensus reached, then what?

SCA: We will try our very best to achieve consensus on the question of constitutional development. We have already conducted public consultation for one year. I think the broad directions are clear. Firstly, the Hong Kong community wants the Election Committee to have its membership expanded. Secondly, there is quite a lot of support for the electorate base of both the functional constituencies and Election Committee to be expanded. Thirdly, there appears to be a certain degree of support for the number of seats for the Legislative Council to be formed in 2008 to be increased. But on these three fronts, we still need to do more detailed work and promote further public discussion and consultation before we can come up with a package for consideration by the middle of this year. We will try our very best to secure sufficient support within the Legislative Council and outside the Legislative Council for any package to be taken forward.

Reporter: What difficulties are there in expanding the Election Committee?

SCA: There are a great variety of views as to the possibilities for the Election Committee to be expanded. There appears to be quite firm support for the number of District Councillors to be included in the Election Committee to be increased. I have been to six or seven District Councils already in the last month and a half, and this appears to be a prominent view. But aside from this, there are a variety of views, it is almost like the Chinese saying "let a hundred flowers bloom". There are a variety of views on the possibilities for extending the involvement of certain organisations or sub-sectors in the Election Committee. For example, some people suggest that there should be a women's sub-sector; there should be a youth and student sub-sector; there should be a small and medium enterprises sub-sector. So, these are all the ideas which we still have to analyse and consider in some detail in next few months, before we can come up with a package of proposals for taking things forward on the constitutional development front.

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

Ends/Monday, February 14, 2005