In response to media enquiries on whether the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) on August 31, 2014 could be amended and the proposal for the Government to commission an opinion poll and conduct a televised debate regarding the method for selecting the Chief Executive (CE) in 2017, a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau today (March 19) said:
"The Central People's Government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) have all along stressed that the NPCSC Decision on August 31 will neither be retracted nor amended. We note that in his Report submitted to the NPC on March 8, the Chairman of the NPCSC mentioned the NPCSC Decision on the implementation of universal suffrage in Hong Kong, and the relevant Report had been endorsed by the NPC. Hence, it is impossible to change or retract the NPCSC Decision in reality.
"Over a period of time in the past, different universities or academic institutions have conducted opinion polls about the method for selecting the CE. We are aware that the results of quite a number of polls had revealed that half or more than half of the respondents accepted the implementation of the universal suffrage for the CE election in 2017 in accordance with the relevant stipulations of the Basic Law and the NPCSC Decision on August 31. We hope that the pan-democratic Legislative Council Members will take into consideration these public views seriously. The HKSARG does not rule out the possibility to commission an academic institution to conduct an opinion poll in future if required.
"Regarding the proposal to conduct a televised debate, considering that relevant issues on constitutional development have been discussed thoroughly for a long time in the community, we believe that the televised debate proposal is merely being formalistic and carries no real meaning. The HKSARG will not consider this proposal.
"Last but not least, the HKSARG reiterates that the next few months will be crucial moments for Hong Kong. Whether we can implement universal suffrage for the CE election will hinge on the decision of the Legislative Council. We will endeavour to secure the support of different parties in the Legislative Council for the constitutional development proposal by the HKSARG later."
Ends/Thursday, March 19, 2015