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Government's response to the public meeting and procession today

In response to the public meeting and procession today (December 9), a Government spokesman said that the Central Authorities and the HKSAR Government were firmly committed to promoting constitutional development in accordance with the Basic Law, with a view to achieving the ultimate aim of universal suffrage.

He said that the Government's work direction was to first devise a roadmap for universal suffrage before formulating a timetable. The community must first have sufficient discussions and broad consensus on the models for universal suffrage, in order that a roadmap for universal suffrage might be developed. Once there was a roadmap, the timetable for attaining universal suffrage would fall into place naturally.

"We are now exploring, through discussion at the Commission on Strategic Development (the Commission) and the Legislative Council (LegCo), the issue of possible models for implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive (CE) and LegCo. We hope that this could help promote discussion within the community, with a view to narrowing differences and forging broad consensus," said the spokesman.

"Chanting slogans cannot take forward universal suffrage. What Hong Kong needs are concrete discussion and a willingness to build on common grounds and to accommodate mutual differences."

The spokesman said that the Commission was now having substantive discussion on possible models for selecting the CE and for forming LegCo.

"We aim to publish a report to draw conclusions on the discussion of the Commission in 2007, and to submit the report to the Central Authorities. The report will provide a basis for the third term Government to continue to take forward Hong Kong’s further democratization," he said.

He supplemented that Hong Kong's elections had a fine tradition of being open, fair and clean. Both the Election Committee subsector elections tomorrow and the CE election in March next year would be held in accordance with the Basic Law and the relevant electoral legislation, and in an open and fair manner.

Ends/Saturday, December 9, 2006