|SCMA speaks to the media after meeting with Alliance for Universal Suffrage (with photos)
Following is the transcript of the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam's remarks (English portion) in a media session after a meeting with the Alliance for Universal Suffrage this evening (May 20):
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I am very pleased to have the opportunity today to meet once again with members of the Alliance for Universal Suffrage. Earlier on we did agree to have this further meeting in May. We exchanged views on the constitutional development proposals for 2012.
Both sides agree that the meeting is useful and constructive, and it helps both sides to have a better understanding of our respective proposals.
I very much welcome the fact that both sides are using the decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) in 2007 as the basis for our discussions.
Firstly, the Alliance accepts that for implementing universal suffrage, the timetable as stipulated in the NPCSC's decision is the basis, and that is we may implement universal suffrage for the Chief Executive in 2017 and thereafter for the Legislative Council in 2020.
Secondly, the Alliance also accepts that for the 2012 Legislative Council elections, we have to base this on the 2007 NPCSC's decision and that is the composition of the legislature should be made up of 50 per cent directly elected seats and 50 per cent functional seats.
At today's meeting, I took the opportunity to introduce to the Alliance the current thinking of the Administration with regard to returning six legislators from among elected District Councillors. Basically, there are two possible options. The first option would be for all 400-plus District Councillors to form one constituency covering the whole territory to return six Legislative Council Members. The second option would be to split the New Territories and the urban areas into two constituencies, about half of the District Councillors will take part in either one of these constituencies to return three legislators respectively.
During the meeting, the Alliance presented to us their proposals with regard to the 2012 constitutional reforms and also the implementation methods for realising universal suffrage for the Chief Executive in 2017 and for implementing universal suffrage for the Legislative Council in 2020.
We are very much prepared to reflect their views both within the Government and to the respective authorities in Beijing. However, I have emphasised to the Alliance that the third-term HKSAR Government is authorised only to deal with the electoral reforms for 2012. As for their proposals beyond 2012, we will consolidate and summarise their views for the fourth-term HKSAR Government to pursue and to consider.
The working meeting today is not going to be a standing arrangement for now. However, both sides agree that it would be useful for us to continue to meet between now and the date by which the legislature is going to vote on our proposed amendments to Annexes I and II of the Basic Law.
On my part, I have undertaken to follow up on two aspects.
Firstly, I will very faithfully and fully reflect their views to the senior echelon of the Government and also to the respective authorities in Beijing.
Secondly, the Alliance has all along expressed the wish to meet with representatives of the Central People's Government so that they can put forth their views directly. This we have done in past weeks and shall continue to reflect their wishes accordingly. The response so far is basically positive and I hope a decision on this will be taken fairly soon.
Reporter: Based on the discussion today, in what way can you see, or can you see any increased possibility of getting the votes that would be needed for the passage of the proposals when the time comes?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: We have never underestimated the challenge of getting two-thirds majority in the legislature, i.e. a minimum of 40 votes to get this package for 2012 approved. At the same time, in the past months the HKSAR Government has made every endeavour to maintain and to enhance our communication with different political parties and alliances. We believe the fact that in a matter of weeks we have had three opportunities to exchange views with members of the Alliance is a positive sign, also the fact that we are now all starting from the same page - we are all going to deal with the 2012 constitutional reforms and subsequent implementation of universal suffrage on the basis of the NPCSC's decision in 2007.
Reporter: You said you are on the same page, but they just told us that they raised review issues regarding 2016, 2017, 2020, the definition of universal suffrage, functional constituencies, all which is post-2012. So, what is the reality?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: My point is that both the Administration and the Alliance are starting from the same basis of the NPCSC's decision. Both sides accept that the universal suffrage timetable determined in 2007 is the basis. And as regards their views about constitutional arrangements beyond 2012, we will very faithfully reflect their views both within the senior echelon of the Administration and to the respective authorities in Beijing.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Thursday, May 20, 2010
SCMA meets with Alliance for Universal Suffrage (1)
The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, meets with the Alliance for Universal Suffrage this afternoon (May 20) to discuss the "Package of Proposals for the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2012" and other relevant issues.
SCMA meets with Alliance for Universal Suffrage (2)
Photo shows Mr Lam greeting the Convenor of the Alliance for Universal Suffrage, Mr Fung Wai-wah, before the meeting.