LCQ9: Inclusion of appointed DC members in the Election Committee
Following is a question by Hon Ma Lik and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (November 30):
In the Fifth Report of the Constitutional Development Task Force, the Government proposes that the number of members of the Election Committee for election of the Chief Executive in 2007 be doubled to 1,600, with all the elected and appointed District Council ("DC") members included. As it is stipulated in Annex I to the Basic Law that for the Election Committee, "the delimitation of the various sectors......shall be prescribed by an electoral law enacted by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in accordance with the principles of democracy and openness", will the Government inform this Council whether it has assessed if, in the course of enacting the electoral law, the inclusion of appointed DC members in the Election Committee will contravene the aforesaid principles; if it has made an assessment, of the conclusion and details of the legal basis for that conclusion?
Article 2 of Annex I to the Basic Law prescribes the number of members and composition of the Election Committee (EC). Article 3 of Annex I provides that the electoral law of the SAR (i.e. the local ordinance) shall be enacted in accordance with the principles of democracy and openness. The proposals for selecting the Chief Executive (CE) in 2007 and electing the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2008 set out in the fifth report of the Constitutional Development Task Force have been formulated in strict accordance with the relevant procedures contained in the Annexes to the Basic Law, as well as the Interpretation and Decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in April 2004. The proposals concerned will come into effect and become part of the Annex I to the Basic Law after completion of the procedures stipulated in Article 7 of Annex I to the Basic Law. Thereafter, in accordance with the newly enacted provisions in Annex I to the Basic Law, the SAR Government will put to LegCo proposals to amend the Chief Executive Election Ordinance to prescribe the detailed arrangements for the CE election. This arrangement is legal and constitutional.
We wish to emphasise that irrespective of how individual District Council (DC) members are returned, they are entrusted with the same functions and powers under the District Councils Ordinance. We propose to incorporate all DC members into the EC because DC members represent public opinion, and they are in a position to grasp and reflect issues of concern to the grassroot people in the districts. This can enhance the representativeness of the EC, while enabling the constitutional development of Hong Kong to move toward universal suffrage in a gradual and orderly manner. Incorporating all DC members into the EC according to the Government's proposals is in line with the principles of democracy and openness.
Ends/Wednesday, November 30, 2005