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Chinese HKSAR Gov't Announces 2012 Electoral Methods Package
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Source Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Focus: Information Access, E-Participation
Country: China
Created: Apr 19, 2010

A package of proposals on the methods of selecting the Chief Executive (CE) and for forming the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2012 was announced by the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Wednesday.

The proposals summarized the views from public consultation and provided detailed solutions for the two electoral methods in 2012, said the Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang while illustrating the package at the LegCo meeting.

The package suggests that the number of the Election Committee for selecting the CE be increased from 800 to 1200, and the nomination threshold, which is currently at the ratio of one- eighth of the committee members, remain unchanged.

Besides, the number of LegCo seats are proposed to raise from 60 to 70, with geographical constituencies through direct elections and functional constituencies occupying 35 each.

The package will help enhance "democratic elements of the two electoral methods for 2012", said Tang.

A three-month public consultation on the two electoral methods was launched on Nov. 18, 2009, to widely collect opinions from different political groups as well as social communities and individuals.

During the consultation period, a total of more than 70 relevant forums and meeting were held to broadly listen to public views, said Tang.

When the consultation ended on Feb. 19, 2010, more than 47,000 written submissions and more than 1.6 million signatures were collected.

Summarizing the public opinions, Tang said there is a common wish to see progress in the constitutional arrangement in 2012.

The results also showed that over 60 percent of respondents support the key elements about the two electoral methods; and more than half respondents support passage of the government's proposed package by LegCo.

"The Central Authorities and the Government of HKSAR have been promoting the development of democracy in Hong Kong with utmost sincerity," said Tang.

Shortly after its establishment in July 2007, the third-term HKSAR Government issued the Green Paper on Constitutional Development to consult the public on the models, roadmap and timetable for implementing universal suffrage for the CE and the LegCo.

In late December 2007, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) of China, after considering the report faithfully reflecting the views received during the public consultation, made clear that universal suffrage in HKSAR may be implemented for electing the CE in 2017 and for all the members of the LegCo afterwards .

The NPC Standing Committee decision "lays a solid foundation and provides the authoritative direction and basis for our pursuit of democracy", said Tang.

"We firmly believe that, if we are willing to exercise our collective wisdom and endeavor, Hong Kong will be able to reach consensus on democratic development and take the HKSAR towards attaining universal suffrage according to the principles of universality and equality."

The package is expected to be submitted to the LegCo and put to vote before the LegCo recess starting mid-July this year.
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