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LCQ6: Timetable and specific process for elections by universal suffrage

Following is a question by Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (November 2):


The package of proposals put forth by the Government last month on the methods for selecting the Chief Executive in 2007 and for forming the Legislative Council in 2008 did not include a timetable and specific process for the elections of the Chief Executive and of all members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage ("dual elections by universal suffrage"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ruled out the implementation of the dual elections by universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008, whether the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has discussed with the Central Government in the past year a specific timetable and the process regarding the implementation of the dual elections by universal suffrage; if it has, of the results of the discussion; and

(b) of the specific work to arrange for all members of the Legislative Council to visit Beijing so that they can reflect to the Central Government officials the views of Hong Kong people on matters relating to constitutional development, including when and how dual elections by universal suffrage will be implemented?


Madam President,

Regarding the first part of the question raised by the Honourable Cheung Man-kwong, among the public views received by the Constitutional Development Task Force since the publication of its fourth report in December last year, some have touched upon the issue of setting a timetable for attaining universal suffrage. As we have pointed out in paragraph 5.26 of the fifth report, there are divergent views within the community on the formulation of a timetable for attaining universal suffrage. There are views that universal suffrage for both the Chief Executive (CE) and the Legislative Council (LegCo) should be introduced in 2012. There are also views that it should be introduced in 2017 or even later. On the other hand, there are still opinions in the community calling for the Central Authorities to re-consider introducing universal suffrage in 2007/08. Further, there are views that there is no need to set a timetable. As public views on the issue remain diverse, it would be difficult to reach a consensus in the near future. The Task Force considers that we should accord priority to addressing the issue of the electoral methods for 2007/08, and put forth the Government’s proposals in the fifth report in accordance with the framework prescribed by the Basic Law and the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in April last year. The Task Force has maintained communication with relevant departments of the Central Authorities. It has also submitted to the Central Authorities the fifth report together with the full range of views and proposals received.

Regarding the second part of the question, the CE led LegCo Members to visit a number of cities in the Pearl River Delta at the end of September. The smooth conduct of the Guangdong visit was made possible through the full support of the Central Authorities and the comprehensive assistance provided by the Guangdong Provincial Government. At a media session after the visit, the CE concluded that the visit to Guangdong represented a very good start. He hoped that this would lay a foundation for more exchanges in the future. We will reflect on the experience acquired from the visit, and will continue to promote our work in this regard, so that hopefully a visit to Beijing by Members could be realised at some stage.

Ends/Wednesday, November 2, 2005