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SCA: Priority is to deal with amendment bill on CE election

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 Hong Kong Development Forum Ltd. this morning (March 23):

Reporter: We know that a legislator, an independent democrat, Albert Chan, is planning to launch a judicial review and at the same time, there have been reports saying some pro-Beijing politicians have been told that the Government will interpret certain provisions in the Basic Law on the term of the next Chief Executive. Is that the case? Is the Government going to seek an interpretation?

SCA: Our current priority is to deal with the Chief Executive Election (Amendment)(Term of Office of the Chief Executive) Bill which proposes that any new Chief Executive elected should serve the remainder of the term. We are going to pursue this in the Legislative Council and we will do our very best to explain to legislators the basis for this draft legislation. We hope that we can complete this piece of legislation and have it enacted before the nomination period begins. But of course in so doing, we will have full regard to the views expressed by legislators and different political parties. We shall continue to place our emphasis on this work in coming weeks.

As regards the possibility of a judicial review, we will always be prepared to deal with any court cases in accordance with the Basic Law and the laws of Hong Kong. We shall monitor developments as they unfold and act accordingly.

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

Ends/Wednesday, March 23, 2005