Following is a question by the Hon Paul Tse and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah, in the Legislative Council today (June 24):
It has been reported that when the Chief Secretary for Administration met with several Members of this Council on the fourth of this month, she attempted to persuade them to support the passage of the constitutional reform proposals and undertook that if the constitutional reform proposals were passed by this Council, a study on how to handle the issue of the functional constituency (FC) seats in the Legislative Council (LegCo) might be conducted in the next step. Besides, at an earlier meeting of the Bills Committee on Electoral Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2015, several Members of this Council requested the Government to adjust and optimise the composition and electorate of FCs, so as to enhance their representativeness and recognition. A Member even accused the Government of procrastinating all along, and refusing to optimise the electoral system for FC seats in the LegCo, thus rendering FC elections being unable to remedy the inadequacy of a Legislative Council returned solely by geographical constituencies through direct elections and in turn impeding the political development of Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of its plans to handle the issue of FC seats in the LegCo;
(2) apart from making the aforesaid undertaking to the aforesaid Members, whether the Government will make the same undertaking to other Members and set out the scope, direction and timetable of the study concerned; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(3) whether it has studied if an announcement, before the voting on the constitutional reform proposals by this Council, by the authorities that a study would be conducted on the handling of the FC seats in the LegCo would be conducive to the passage of the proposals by this Council; and
(4) whether the Government will continue, under the circumstances of the constitutional reform proposals being negatived by this Council, to actively study how to handle the issue of the FC seats in the LegCo within the current term of the Government?
Our reply to the questions raised by the Hon Tse regarding the LegCo functional constituency (FC) is as follows:
In accordance with Annex II to the Basic Law, there are 35 Members of the LegCo returned by FCs at present. The delineation of electorate of each FC is specified under the local legislation, namely the Legislative Council Ordinance (Cap. 542).
According to the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Issues Relating to the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2012 and on Issues Relating to Universal Suffrage adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) on December 29, 2007, after the Chief Executive is selected by universal suffrage, the election of the LegCo may be implemented by the method of electing all the members by universal suffrage.
On August 31, 2014, the NPCSC adopted the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Issues Relating to the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by Universal Suffrage and on the Method for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2016 (the Decision). According to the Decision, the existing formation method for the LegCo as prescribed in Annex II to the Basic Law will not be amended; and the formation method of the fifth term LegCo will continue to apply to the sixth term LegCo in 2016. In other words, the sixth term LegCo in 2016 should continue to consist of 70 members: 35 to be returned by FCs and 35 by geographical constituencies. At the local legislation level, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has introduced the Electoral Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2015 into the LegCo, making it clear that the existing delineation of the FCs will remain intact and that only necessary technical amendments will be made for the 2016 LegCo election.
Ends/Wednesday, June 24, 2015