|SCA: Government confident to conduct CE election within 120 days
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 (March 14) (English portion):
Reporter: During the programme, you were saying that the Government did not intend to seek the interpretation of the Basic Law. How confident are you that there will not be any judicial review?
SCA: Our position is that if there were any judicial review, we would seek to deal with that according to our understanding of the Basic Law, and according to the Secretary for Justice's opinion, that any new Chief Executive elected is to serve the remainder of the term.
In this regard, we will act expeditiously and seek to deal with any judicial cases as soon as possible, according to the laws of Hong Kong.
We hope that it will not be necessary to seek an interpretation from the National People's Congress Standing Committee. But we would have to act according to circumstances as they unfold and as they develop in the next few months.
Reporter: Do you think it is likely that you will have to seek an interpretation of the Basic Law with all the discussions going on in Hong Kong right now?
SCA: I have given you our position as it stands today, and we would act according to our policies and according to our understanding of the Basic Law. But, we have to do our very best in terms of dealing with arrangements for the forthcoming election of the new Chief Executive in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong.
Reporter: Are you confident that you will have an election by July 10? What happens if you don't?
SCA: We have examined the steps which we need to take and we are acting according to the deadlines and the periods set out in Chief Executive Election Ordinance. When this ordinance was conceived back to 2001, thinking had been done in detail. In the last limited period that we have, we have updated the arrangements which we need to make.
On Saturday, I have already set out to all of you the three phases in which these arrangements need to be made. Between mid-March and mid-April, we need to update the provisional register of the Election Committee members. Between mid-April and May, we need to conduct the by-elections for the vacancies which have arisen in the Election Committee. In the course of June until July 10, we will conduct the actual election of the Chief Executive. The nomination period shall not be less than 14 days and canvassing period shall not be less than 21 days.
Reporter: There are a lot of deadlines that you need to make. Is it a pressing issue?
SCA: We have factored into the schedule all statutory deadlines. We are confident that we can do so within 120 days. Thank you.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Monday, March 14, 2005