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Government responds to media enquiries on "civil referendum results"

     It is the common aspiration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the people of Hong Kong to implement universal suffrage for the Chief Executive (CE) election in 2017, so that over five million eligible voters will be able to elect the next CE by "one man, one vote", a Government spokesman said today (June 29) when responding to media enquiries about the "results" of the so-called "civil referendum" organised by some groups.

     "The HKSAR Government has reiterated earlier that the so-called 'civil referendum' does not exist in the HKSAR's Basic Law and our domestic legislation and hence has no legal effect. We respect the right of the people to express their views and we also understand that there are different views in the society about the specific method for implementing universal suffrage of CE. However, we have to work in accordance with the laws when contemplating proposals for constitutional development," the spokesman said.

     "Concerning the 'civic nomination' proposal advocated by some groups and individuals, the HKSAR Government has reiterated many times before that it is unlikely to be adopted in view of the controversies relating to the legal, political and operational aspects of the proposal," the spokesman added.

     Regarding some views in the society about the question of "international standards" of universal suffrage, the spokesman said, "Reference could be drawn from the principles mentioned in certain international covenants for implementing universal suffrage. However, we should understand that internationally there is no single prescribed electoral or political system. The United Nations recognises that different jurisdictions should develop their own systems that suit their unique cultural, historical, political and socio-economic backgrounds.

     "The HKSAR Government will launch the second round of public consultation on the specific proposals by the end of this year. We appeal to different sectors in the community to forge consensus in a rational and pragmatic manner, on the basis of the Basic Law and relevant Interpretation and Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, with a view to successfully implementing universal suffrage for the CE election in a timely manner in 2017 and in accordance with the law."

Ends/Sunday, June 29, 2014