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NPC to discuss Basic Law interpretation
Updated: 2005-04-19 00:04

China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), announced in Beijing yesterday that it would examine a draft interpretation of Hong Kong's mini-constitution next week regarding the tenure of the region's chief executive.

The draft interpretation of Clause 2, Article 53 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will be deliberated upon at the 15th session of the 10th NPC Standing Committee scheduled to convene from April 24 to 27 in Beijing.

The information was released from the 31st chairman and vice- chairpersons meeting of the 10th NPC Standing Committee.

During the upcoming session, lawmakers will deliberate on the motion, submitted by the State Council on April 10, which requested the NPC Standing Committee to interpret Clause 2 of Article 53, and the draft interpretation of the Clause 2 of Article 53 of the HKSAR Basic Law, which was proposed at yesterday's chairman and vice-chairpersons' meeting.

Clause 2 of Article 53 stipulates that, in the event of the office of Chief Executive becoming 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.

Tung Chee-hwa, 67, announced in Hong Kong on March 10 that he had officially submitted to the central government his request for resignation from the post as chief executive of the HKSAR for health reasons.

A plenary meeting of China's State Council on March 12 approved Tung's resignation as the HKSAR chief executive. Acting Chief Executive and Administrative Secretary Donald Tsang immediately began to assume the duties of the Chief Executive of HKSAR.

Speaking at a press conference on March 12, Tsang said the selection of the new Chief Executive will be held on July 10 according to law. He said: "Our position is that the term of office of the new Chief Executive shall be the remainder of the term of the preceding Chief Executive."

Donald Tsang submitted a report to the State Council on April 6, proposing the State Council make a request to the NPC Standing Committee to interpret Clause 2 of Article 53, so as to clarify the tenure of the next HKSAR chief executive.

On April 10, the State Council, China's cabinet, decided to follow Tsang's request and made a request to the NPC Standing Committee.

At yesterday's meeting, Li Fei, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, made a report on issues concerning the draft interpretation of the Clause 2, Article 53 of the HKSAR Basic Law to the chairman and vice-chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee.

Yesterday's meeting also confirmed other items for the agenda of the NPC Standing Committee's coming session, including a second deliberation on the draft law on civil servants and the first deliberation of a draft amendment of the securities law.

During the session, lawmakers will also deliberate on China's admission to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques, and will approve the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption.

Lawmakers will hear reports from the State Council on the reform of State-owned enterprises and on the enforcement of the Statistics Law.

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