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HK to form panel to study universal suffrage
Updated: 2005-10-21 10:23

HONG KONG -- A political development panel will be formed under the Commission on Strategic Development to study issues related to supporting measures for achieving universal suffrage, Hong Kong's Chief Secretary for Administration Rafael Hui said Thursday.

The panel will examine how to attain universal suffrage under the principles of balanced participation, the future of functional constituencies, changes in District Council function, positioning of the civil service and development of the accountability system.

He reiterated that only when the supporting measures are ready and the community has reached a high degree of consensus on the pace of introducing universal suffrage, will a timetable for introducing universal suffrage be practical and meaningful.

Hui said proposals in the Constitutional Development Task Force's fifth report are already a step forward in constitutional development in Hong Kong, and it has struck a balance among different sectors' interests.

He explained that under the proposals, 60 percent of the future Legislative Council seats and 400 newly added Election Committee members will be directly or indirectly elected by over 3 million registered voters.

On the voting right of appointed district councilors, he said both elected and appointed members should enjoy the same rights and there is no reason to exclude appointed members.

Hui said in the 2007 District Council elections, the element of appointed members has to be maintained so as to guarantee service quality to the community at district level and a balanced participation.

However, he agreed in the long-run, when universal suffrage is achieved, the appointment system will no longer exist.

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