|Constitutional Development Task Force publishes Fifth Report
The Constitutional Development Task Force led by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui, today (October 19) issued its Fifth Report to put forth a package of proposals on the methods for selecting the Chief Executive in 2007 and for forming the Legislative Council in 2008.
Mr Hui said that the proposals aimed to broaden the electorate base and strengthen the democratic element in a pragmatic manner. The main thrust is the enhanced level of participation of members of District Councils in the Election Committee (for the election of the Chief Executive) and the Legislative Council.
Members of the Task Force include the Secretary for Justice, Ms Elsie Leung, and the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam. Since its establishment in January 2004, the Task Force has consulted different sectors of the community on constitutional development through a wide range of channels. The package of proposals is the result of public consultation conducted widely and openly and in several stages for more than a year since the issue of the Third Report and the Fourth Report in 2004.
In formulating the package of proposals, the Task Force has considered carefully the views of the community and has taken into account various principles. These include:
* the proposals should be consistent with the relevant provisions of the Basic Law and the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of April 26, 2004;
* the proposals should provide more room and opportunities for the public to participate in the elections for the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council to add to the representativeness of the two electoral methods; and
* the proposals should move substantively towards the ultimate aim of universal suffrage.
The package of proposals on the method for selecting the Chief Executive in 2007 include:
* the number of the Election Committee members to be increased from 800 to 1,600;
* the number of Election Committee members of the First, Second and Third Sectors to be increased from 200 to 300 each;
* the number of Election Committee members of the Fourth Sector to be increased from 200 to 700, mainly by including all (appointed, ex-officio and elected) District Council members;
* the number of Election Committee members required for nominating Chief Executive candidates to be maintained at one-eighth of the total membership;
* consider establishing an appropriate mechanism whereby, if only one candidate is validly nominated, election proceedings shall continue; and
* the existing requirement that the Chief Executive should not have any political affiliation to be maintained.
The proposals on the method for forming the Legislative Council in 2008 include:
* the number of seats in the Legislative Council to be increased from 60 to 70, the number of seats to be returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections and those returned by functional constituencies to be increased from 30 to 35 respectively;
* all the five newly added functional constituency seats to be returned through election by District Council members from among themselves. That means the number of seats returned by the District Council Functional Constituency to be increased from 1 to 6; and
* the existing provision that permanent residents of the HKSAR who are not of Chinese nationality or who have the right of abode in foreign countries may also be elected members of the Legislative Council to be maintained, provided that the number of such members does not exceed 12 of the total membership of the Council.
Mr Hui said that according to Annexes I and II to the Basic Law, any amendments to the two electoral methods set out in the two Annexes shall require the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all Legco Members and consent of the Chief Executive. They shall then be put to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval (for amendments to Annex I) or for the record (for amendments to Annex II).
The Government will introduce the motions into the Legislative Council and seek their endorsement in December on the amendments to Annexes I and II to the Basic Law. Detailed arrangements, such as the allocation of seats among the subsectors of the Election Committee, will be dealt with in the context of local legislation.
The Government plans to introduce into the Legislative Council the Chief Executive Election (Amendment) Bill in January 2006 and to strive to have the Bill passed by the Council by May 2006 at the latest, so that relevant subsidiary legislation can be amended respectively by the Government and the Electoral Affairs Commission, and the voter registration exercise conducted afterwards. A new term Election Committee will be formed in the second half of 2006, a new term Chief Executive elected in March 2007, and the relevant provisions of the Legislative Council Ordinance amended in 2007.
The public views collected by the Task Force and the records of meetings with the 18 District Councils during the consultation period have been incorporated in the Appendices to the Fifth Report, and uploaded to the constitutional development website (www.cab-review.gov.hk). Public submissions received after the close of the consultation period have also been published in an addendum to the Appendices.
Copies of the report are available for collection by the public at the Public Enquiry Service Centres (PESCs) of the 18 District Offices (which will extend their opening hours to 7pm today). The report can also be accessed on the constitutional development website. The Appendices and the addendum are available for inspection at the PESCs of the 18 District Offices.
Ends/Wednesday, October 19, 2005