Press Releases

Government's response to processions and public meetings: Avoid constitutional stalemate

     In response to the processions and public meetings today (November 22), a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said that the HKSAR Government was sincere in listening to the views of the public on how to further democratise the electoral methods for 2012, and hoped that different sectors of the community would adopt an open and accommodating attitude, so as to forge consensus for Hong Kong’s constitutional development, roll forward democracy and avoid a stalemate.

     "The HKSAR Government fully respects people's right to take part in processions and to express their views. We also appreciate their aspiration for universal suffrage.???

     "However, discussions of the two electoral methods for 2012 must be based on the decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) in December 2007. The election options to be considered must be legal, reasonable and practicable," he said.

     "The spokesman said that the NPCSC decision had made clear that universal suffrage would not be implemented in 2012. Hence, any request for dual universal suffrage in 2012 would not comply with the NPCSC decision. As regards the HKSAR Government putting forth the electoral models for universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020, he said this was also beyond what the current-term HKSAR Government had been authorised to deal with.

     "The NPCSC decision is a constitutional one which cannot be amended lightly.” he said.

     The spokesman said that the task of the current-term HKSAR Government was to determine the two electoral methods for 2012 by injecting new democratic elements into the electoral arrangements, so as to pave the way for implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive (CE) and the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2017 and 2020 respectively.??

     "We secured in 2007 a timetable for universal suffrage. Also, under the requirement of the NPCSC decision that the half-and-half ratio between members returned by functional constituencies (FCs) and members returned by geographical constituencies (GCs) through direct elections shall remain unchanged, we have abided by the principle of not creating new 'traditional' FCs. Increasing the number of seats to be returned through election among elected District Council members can enhance the democratic elements of the LegCo election.

     "We also suggest that consideration may be given to having all District Council seats in the Election Committee and the LegCo elected from among elected District Council members in 2012. By then, close to 60 per cent of the seats in the LegCo will be returned by GCs through direct or indirect elections," he said.

     The spokesman said that, in order to respond to the aspiration of some political parties in the LegCo and some individuals in the community for commencing discussion on universal suffrage models as soon as possible, the HKSAR Government would summarise and conclude any views relating to universal suffrage received during the public consultation.??These views would serve as reference for the HKSAR Government to be formed in 2012 and 2017 for dealing with the issue of universal suffrage for the CE and the LegCo.

     "Now that the universal suffrage timetable has been set, we should strive to make democratic progress for the 2012 elections, and should not allow another stalemate in constitutional development. By so doing, we can create a new environment for Hong Kong’s constitutional development, and this would be conducive to a steady transition of Hong Kong's electoral system to universal suffrage."

Ends/Sunday, November 22, 2009