Legislature asked to interpret Basic Law
The State Council, China's cabinet, yesterday requested the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee interpret Clause 2 of Article 53 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) concerning the tenure of a new HKSAR chief executive.
A spokesman of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said the State Council yesterday submitted a motion to the NPC Standing Committee, requesting that it interpret the clause.
The State Council held that nailing down the tenure of a new HKSAR chief executive was of great importance to the accurate implementation of the relevant provisions in the HKSAR Basic Law, and had a direct bearing on the smooth election of the new HKSAR chief executive as well as the central government's appointment of the new HKSAR leader, the spokesman said.
Therefore, it was absolutely necessary to request that the NPC Standing Committee interpret the relevant provisions in the HKSAR Basic Law, said the spokesman.
He said the State Council's timely study of the report submitted by the HKSAR government and its resolution to request the NPC Standing Committee to interpret the law, demonstrated the cabinet's consistent position of strictly following HKSAR Basic Law and shows that no effort is being spared to maintain Hong Kong's stability and prosperity.
The Hong Kong SAR government yesterday welcomed the State Council's decision to adopt the report and the recommendation submitted by the acting chief executive.
He stressed that the SAR government's seeking an interpretation by the NPC Standing Committee would not affect "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" or "a high degree of autonomy," nor would it damage the rule of law on which Hong Kong's success is based.
"The NPC Standing Committee has the power to interpret the Basic Law. This is
part of Hong Kong's constitutional structure," he said. "It is lawful and
constitutional to settle the issue of the term of office of the new Chief
Executive by seeking the most authoritative interpretation in accordance with
the Basic Law."
In the event that the office of Chief Executive becomes vacant, a new Chief Executive shall be selected within six months in accordance with the provisions of Article 45 of this Law. During the period of vacancy, his or her duties shall be assumed according to the provisions of the preceding paragraph.
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government.
The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.
The specific method for selecting the Chief Executive is prescribed in Annex I "Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."
(China Daily 04/11/2005 page1)