LC: Speech by SCMA on the Declaration of Constituencies (District Councils) Order 2011

     Following is the speech (English translation) by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, on the Declaration of Constituencies (District Councils) Order 2011 in the Legislative Council today (April 14):

     The independent Electoral Affairs Commission (the Commission) makes recommendations regarding the delineation of the District Council constituencies and their names pursuant to the power conferred by law for consideration by the Chief Executive in Council. The Chief Executive in Council accepted the Commission's recommendations in their entirety on March 22.

     I would like to take today's opportunity to reiterate several important considerations. Firstly, in making recommendations for the delineation of the District Council constituencies, the Commission shall follow the criteria which are expressly provided for in the Electoral Affairs Commission Ordinance (the Ordinance). The legislature should not lead in determining the delineation. This is an important constitutional principle.

     The Commission also conducted public consultation on its provisional recommendations during the period starting from December 3, 2010 to January 3, 2011 in accordance with the statutory requirements in the Ordinance. Two public forums were held. The Commission received 472 written representations and 45 oral representations including those from political parties, District Councillors and local personalities, etc. As such, the political parties and the public would have had sufficient opportunities to reflect their views to the Commission. Having considered the different representations, the Commission has endeavoured to strike a balance between the expressed wishes of the public and the statutory criteria for demarcation in order to arrive at the recommendations for delineation.

     The Legislative Council has decided to establish a Sub-committee to examine the Declaration of Constituencies (District Councils) Order 2011. As the District Councils election will be held in November, persons intending to stand for the election would wish to start the preparation early. Therefore, I appeal to the Legislative Council to put forth their views on the Order and to complete the scrutiny of the subsidiary legislation as soon as possible, so that persons intending to stand for the election will have sufficient time to prepare for the election.

     Thank you, President.

Ends/Thursday, April 14, 2011