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Interpretation by NPCSC ensures timely election of new CE and complies with rule of law

In response to today's (April 24) procession, a Government spokesman said that the HKSAR Government respected that residents had the freedom of speech, procession, assembly and protest as prescribed by the law.

He said, " We understand that some members of the community have concerns about the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) making an interpretation of the Basic Law on the issue of the term of office of the new Chief Executive (CE)."

The spokesman emphasised, "Under the design of the 'One Country, Two Systems', the NPCSC has the constitutional power to interpret the Basic Law in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law. This is an integral part of the constitutional structure of the HKSAR. It is lawful and constitutional for the Government to make a request through the State Council in accordance with the Basic Law to the NPCSC to interpret the Basic Law."

He pointed out that seeking an interpretation by the NPCSC would not affect the judicial proceedings in the HKSAR. Meanwhile, the Government would deal with judicial review cases according to legal procedures. In fact, the Court of First Instance of the High Court would conduct a hearing on relevant judicial review cases on May 10 and 11.

The spokesman said, "We are aware that the community very much hopes that the new CE can be elected lawfully and in time on July 10. In order to achieve this, seeking an interpretation by the NPCSC is consistent with the fundamental interests of Hong Kong and complies with the 'One Country, Two Systems' and the rule of law."

Regarding constitutional development, the spokesman said that the Government would act according to the relevant provisions of Basic Law and the decision of the NPCSC on April 26, 2004 and take forward the HKSAR's constitutional development. The Constitutional Development Task Force was consulting the public on its Fourth Report. The Task Force welcomed views on amending the methods of selecting the Chief Executive in 2007 and forming the Legislative Council in 2008.

Ends/Sunday, April 24, 2005