LCQ7: Report submitted by Chief Executive to NPCSC
Following is a question by the Hon Szeto Wah and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 9):
Twenty-one Legislative Council Members of the "pro-democracy camp" wrote to the Chief Executive on April 14 this year, requesting him to publish the draft of the report on whether there was a need to amend the methods for selecting the Chief Executive in 2007 and for forming the Legislative Council in 2008 and to present it to the Legislative Council for debate, before submitting the report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ("NPCSC"), so as to ensure that public opinion was reflected in the report. While the Chief Executive's Office replied on April 16 that the Chief Executive would meet Members of this Council on the afternoon of that day, the report had already been submitted to NPCSC on the preceding day. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the reasons for the Chief Executive:
(a) not proposing a meeting with Legislative Council Members before submitting the report to NPCSC; and
(b) not acceding to the above requests made by the Legislative Council Members of the pro-democracy camp?
The Honourable Szeto Wah pointed out in the question that in requesting the Chief Executive (CE) to publish his report in draft and present it to the Legislative Council (LegCo) for debate before submission to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC), the LegCo Members of the "pro-democracy camp" wished to ensure that the report would reflect public opinion.
In preparing the report, the CE had two main considerations. First, the procedures stipulated in the NPCSC's interpretation of April 6 had to be complied with. That is, the CE would first submit a report to the NPCSC on whether there was a need for change, and then the NPCSC would, in accordance with Articles 45 and 68 of the Basic Law, make a determination in the light of the actual situation in HKSAR and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. Second, the recommendation in the report had to give due regard to the views expressed by various strata and sectors of the community. Therefore, in preparing the report, apart from taking into account the recommendations contained in the first and second reports of the Constitutional Development Task Force, the CE had considered fully the views expressed by different organisations and individuals to the Task Force in the past few months, including the views of different parties or groups within the LegCo.
Although various sectors of the community had different views on the pace and mode in moving towards the ultimate aim of universal suffrage, it was clear that the common aspiration within the community was that the existing electoral system had to be changed. These views had been gathered in the past few months through meetings between the Task Force and more than 80 organisations and individuals as well as through other means. They had incorporated broadly the views of different sectors and strata, including the views of LegCo Members.
As different organisations and individuals of the community had had the opportunity to make known their views to the Government, the CE, therefore, considered that this already provided the information for compilation of the report.
Furthermore, after the NPCSC's interpretation on April 6, views had been expressed within the community that the HKSAR Government should decide the next step of its workplan as soon as possible. Thus, the CE submitted a report to the NPCSC on April 15 in accordance with the NPCSC's interpretation on April 6, recommending that the methods for selecting the CE in 2007 and for forming the LegCo in 2008 should be amended.
The CE understood that Hong Kong people were very much concerned about the contents of the report. On April 15, after consulting the Executive Council and submitting the report to the NPCSC, the CE met the media immediately thereafter to explain to the community the contents of the report.
Ends/Wednesday, June 9, 2004