Press Releases

SCMA speaks on 2012 constitutional development local legislation proposals

     The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, today (December 8) met the media at the Central Government Offices to explain the Chief Executive Election (Amendment) Bill 2010 and the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2010. Following is the transcript (English portion) of Mr Lam's remarks:

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Today, we have just passed to the Legislative Council our proposals for the 2012 constitutional development local legislation. As regards the method for selecting the Chief Executive in 2012, there are various major proposals. The number of members of the Election Committee (EC) will be increased from 800 to 1,200, and the four sectors will all be increased proportionately from 200 to 300 members.

     For the first, second and third sectors, there are a total of 32 subsectors. In broad terms, the number of members for these subsectors will also be increased by proportion according to the current split of membership.

     As regards the 100 seats for the fourth sector -- the political sector, the majority of these seats, in total 75 new seats, will be allocated to the District Councils (DCs) subsectors. In total, the DCs subsectors will return 117 elected District Councillors to be members of the EC.

     As regards the method for forming the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2012, we also have various important proposals. The number of geographical constituency (GC) seats will be increased from 30 to 35. We proposed to maintain five GCs, and the limit of seats to be allocated to the GCs will range from five to nine.

     As regards the five new FC seats, these will be allocated to a new DC FC. There will be a total of 3.2 million registered voters returning five elected District Councillors to the LegCo. Candidates standing in this new DC FC will require 15 elected District Councillors as nominators.

     For people who have the right to register in the traditional FCs, they can choose to register in the traditional FCs or in the new DC FC. However, for five constituencies - the DC FC, the Insurance, the Heung Yee Kuk, the Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Transport FCs, the eligible electors can only register in these constituencies.

     We have proposed that for the new DC FC, the election expenses limit should be set at $6 million. We have also proposed that financial assistance should be increased from $11 per vote to $12 per vote.

     For the existing DC FC, and for the new DC FC, only elected District Councillors may be nominated as candidates. There are no other substantial changes to the traditional FCs.

     As regards consular posts established in Hong Kong, we are proposing in the LegCo Amendment Bill that they should no longer be eligible to cast votes as corporate electors in FCs.

     We will formally introduce these two bills into the LegCo on December 15.

Reporter: Why do you think these electoral arrangements for the five new District Council Functional Constituency seats are not unfair to small parties or individual candidates? Why have you decided to keep these arrangements?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Actually, we are proposing this -- there should be a minimum of 15 nominators for each list of five candidates for the new District Council Functional Constituency. On average, this will mean that for a list of five candidates, only three nominators are required for one candidate. If you survey our geographical constituency and functional constituency arrangements, this is actually the lowest threshold per candidate that we are proposing. It is very reasonable and we believe both large and small parties can join forces to come up with 15 nominators.

     As regards the proposed election expenses limit of $6 million, we have taken fully into account the views which we received during the summer. Different political parties had come up with election expenses limit proposals of $4 million to $8 million. We assessed that $6 million will be appropriate. If, say, you need to print leaflets promoting a list of candidates to over three million registered voters, you need to spend about $3 million. And, if you need to promote the candidacy among three million people throughout the territory, then you need to spend over $2 million for such election engineering activities.

Reporter: Why have you decided to keep these arrangements instead of, for example, dividing the constituency into smaller districts so that election campaigning will be cheaper?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: When we passed the 2012 electoral package in June, we made it clear that for the five new seats to be returned from among elected District Councillors through 3.2 million registered voters casting their votes, we should do so by means of proportional representation. This will be a fair arrangement to enable the people of Hong Kong to choose political parties, large and small, and also independent candidates to represent them in the 2012 Legislative Council.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, December 8, 2010