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Tung tells NPC of need for election change
(China Daily HK Edition)
Updated: 2004-04-16 00:00

Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa submitted a report to the country's top legislature yesterday that declares the need for changes to the electoral methods.

HKSAR Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa briefs reporters April 15,2004 while announcing he has kickstarted the amendment mechanism for constitutional development. [China Daily]
The report outlined nine key principles that Hong Kong should abide by in amending the methods for the election of the chief executive in 2007 and formation of the legislature in 2008.

Tung's report took into account the second report by the Constitutional Development Task Force on the issues of principle related to the city's political reform, which was released yesterday.

"I consider that the (electoral) methods...should be amended, so as to enable Hong Kong's constitutional development to move forward," Tung said at a press conference yesterday.

Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam, on behalf of Tung, delivered the report to the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) Deputy Secretary General Qiao Xiaoyang in Beijing yesterday.

Qiao said the NPCSC would examine and make a decision on the report in accordance with its legal responsibility and procedures.

"I believe that Hong Kong's democratic system will develop in a continuous, healthy and steady way through the joint efforts of the central and the SAR governments as well as the Hong Kong people," Qiao said.

The SAR government is now waiting for approval from the NPCSC before it starts to draft specific amendment proposals.

Speaking of the nine key principles, Tung said that the SAR government must pay heed to the views of the central government when it examines the direction and pace of its constitutional development.

Any proposed amendments must comply with the provisions of the Basic Law. Amendments to the design and principle of the political structure prescribed in the Basic Law must not be lightly contemplated.

In addition, no proposed amendments should affect the substantive power of appointment of the chief executive by the central government, and the proposals must aim at consolidating the executive-led system headed by the chief executive.

Tung said that Hong Kong's constitutional development should proceed in a gradual and orderly manner and should accord with the actual situation in the city. "The pace should not be too fast," he said.

When considering the city's actual situation, Tung said the government should take into account a number of factors, including public opinion, economic development, social conditions, the public's understanding of "One Country, Two Systems" and the Basic Law, the maturity of political talent and political groups, as well as the relationship between the executive authorities and the legislature.

Meanwhile, proposed amendments must enable different sectors of society to be represented in the political structure and ensure their interests are fully considered.

Last but not least, any changes to the electoral methods must not bring about adverse effects to the city's economy, monetary affairs or other factors, as is laid down in the Basic Law.

Tung said the nine principles were reached through recent wide-ranging meetings between the community and the government's Constitutional Development Task Force, and on the basis of the provisions of the Basic Law as well as exchanges with mainland legal experts and central government officials. "Constitutional development is a major issue not only for Hong Kong but for the whole country," Tung stressed.

When asked to comment on his former special adviser Paul Yip's suggestion that he should grasp the opportunity to push the city's political reform so as to make his name in history, Tung said: "I don't take my own interests into consideration (on the matter)."

According to the recent interpretation of the Basic Law annexes by the NPCSC, if there is a need to amend the electoral methods, the chief executive shall submit a report to the NPCSC, which shall decide upon it.

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