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Transcript of SCA on CE Election (English only)

The following is the transcript of a standup briefing by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after attending the Legislative Council Panel on Constitutional Affairs meeting this afternoon (January 16) (English only):

Reporter: Could you just explain why the Government could not set the ceiling on the number of nominations a Chief Executive election candidate can get?

SCA: The Government has actually considered very carefully how we can open up further the whole system for returning the Chief Executive (CE) in the 2007 election. We have decided that we should institute an arrangement whereby if there were only one nominated candidate, we would0 still complete the process of enabling the Election Committee members to cast their votes. Members of the Election Committee can choose to indicate their support or not support the solely nominated candidate in such a situation. We believe that this is adequate for members of the Election Committee to demonstrate whether the sectors that they represent support such a candidate.

Also, our consideration is that among the 800 Election Committee members, they should all be given the fullest possible opportunity to decide whether they should indicate their support for a particular candidate by choosing to nominate or not to nominate such a candidate.

Reporter: Some members are actually concerned that if there is no ceiling for the number of nominations that a candidate can get, this is like paving the way for Mr Donald Tsang to be re-elected. How will you look at that?

SCA: It is premature for us to speculate as to who will stand for election in the next round for returning the CE in 2007. If developments in the last few years were to continue, and I believe they will, interest in the election for returning the CE in 2007 would grow. And like last time, in April/May 2005, we saw there were three candidates in total interested in trying to stand for the CE election. And to different degrees they all got some support among members of the Election Committee. So we believe that this process will continue.

Reporter: Is it necessary to encourage more people to stand for the election, and to encourage real competition by means of lowering the entry requirement, that is, the number of nominations a person can get?

SCA: The threshold for getting nominated is that there should be 100 Election Committee members supporting any particular candidate. This threshold is set in the Basic Law itself. This is an arrangement which all candidates wishing to stand for election must comply with.

Reporter: You mean the 100 is already the threshold set down in the Basic Law?

SCA: It is stipulated in Annex I to the Basic Law with regard to the method for electing the CE.

Reporter: I mean the number of 100 that is not set in the Basic Law, but you can change it, right?

SCA: It is set in Annex I to the Basic Law.

Ends/Monday, January 16, 2006