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HK gov't starts public consultation for milestone constitutional reform

English.news.cn   2013-12-04 18:19:55            

HONG KONG, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong government on Wednesday officially kicked off public consultation for a constitutional reform which aims to realize the election of the next chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (SAR) by universal suffrage in 2017.

Announcing the consultation document, Carrie Lam, chief secretary for administration, made a statement at a weekly meeting of the Legislative Council on the methods for selecting the fifth chief executive and forming the next legislature.

Lam, who also heads a special team for the public consultation, said the public consultation period will last five months.

She said the election by universal suffrage of the chief executive and the Legislative Council must be implemented under the framework of the Basic Law as well as decisions and interpretations of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

According to the Basic Law and the top legislature's explanations, amending the two elections' methods in Hong Kong needs to go through a five-step progress.

"First, the chief executive to make a report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress so as to invite the top legislature to decide whether it is necessary to amend the methods of selection and formation," Lam said.

"Secondly, the NPC Standing Committee to make a determination on whether any amendment to the methods may be made.

"Thirdly, if the NPC Standing Committee determines that amendments to the methods may be made, the SAR government to introduce to the Legislative Council a resolution on the amendments to the methods to be passed by a two-thirds majority of all Legislative Council members.

"Fourthly, the chief executive to consent to the resolution as passed by the Legislative Council, and finally the chief executive to lodge the relevant bill to the NPC Standing Committee for approval or for the record," Lam said.

According to the Basic Law and decisions of China's top legislature, the election of the fifth chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR in 2017 may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage.

Lam said in her statement that in devising a model for implementing universal suffrage, the government must ensure it is consistent with four major principles: meeting the interests of different sectors of society, facilitating the development of the capitalist economy, gradual and orderly progress, and appropriate to the actual situation in Hong Kong.

"Today is a milestone in the development of Hong Kong's political system," Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Wednesday, adding that the government will hold an open attitude to heed public views during the consultation.

Leung told reporters that he and the entire government are fully behind the efforts for the consultation. "We should be rational in the forthcoming discussions about the methods of electing the chief executive in 2017 and also electing members of the Legislative Council in 2016," he said.

The Hong Kong SAR government also launched a special website, www.2017.gov.hk, on Wednesday to solicit public views along with the consultation document's full text, key facts about Hong Kong's constitutional development and other related information.

The 55-page document does not elaborate detailed proposals for the constitutional reform, but raises topics and questions related to the reform for the public to debate.

Since China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, China has implemented the "one country, two systems" policy in the region under the Basic Law, and Hong Kong's political structure has been developing towards the ultimate aim of universal suffrage in a gradual and orderly manner.

The first chief executive was nominated and elected by the Selection Committee, and the second to the incumbent fourth were nominated and elected by the Election Committee. The size of the Selection Committee and the Election Committee has gradually expanded from 400 members in 1996, to 800 in 2002 and 1,200 in 2012.

China's top legislature made a decision in December 2007 which gives a clear timetable that "the election of the fifth chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2017 may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage; that after the chief executive is selected by universal suffrage, the election of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may be implemented by the method of electing all the members by universal suffrage."

Lam told a press conference late Wednesday afternoon that it is the common aspiration of the central government, the SAR government and the people to elect the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017.

"I appeal to all quarters of the community, particularly political leaders and Legislative Council members, to take into account that if we do not seize the opportunity, constitutional development in Hong Kong will have to suffer from an impasse again, and what possible implications this may bring about to political, social and economic stability of Hong Kong," she said.

Lam urged the public to discuss the matter in a rational, peaceful and pragmatic manner, and with an open, accommodating and inclusive mind.

Related:

HK government starts public consultation for electoral reform

HONG KONG, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong government on Wednesday officially kicked off public consultation for a constitutional reform which aims to realize the election of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region's (SAR) next chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017.

It was announced by Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration, who made a statement at a weekly meeting of the SAR's Legislative Council on the methods for selecting the fifth chief executive and forming the next legislature.Full story

HK government to announce public consultation for electoral reform

HONG KONG, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong government said it will announce on Wednesday public consultation for a debated constitutional reform which aims to realize the election of the Special Administration Region's next chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017.

Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam is expected make a statement on the "Consultation Document on the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive in 2017 and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2016" at a meeting of the Legislative Council, according to government sources. Full story

Top HKSAR Basic Law Committee official: chief executive must love country, HK

HONG KONG, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- The chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to be elected by universal suffrage in 2017 must love the country and Hong Kong, the visiting Chairman of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee Li Fei said here Friday.

Addressing at a luncheon hosted by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Carrie Lam, Li said the central government is determined about the universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election, adding that the universal suffrage must be in line with the HKSAR Basic Law as well as the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC). Full story

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