2012 constitutional reform package backed by HK's Legislative Council

20:24, June 25, 2010      

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Hong Kong's 60-member Legislative Council (LegCo) has approved the 2012 constitutional reform package with a three-quarters majority on Friday after a three-day debate.

This is the first time since Hong Kong's return to the motherland that the LegCo has managed to go through the procedures stipulated in the Basic Law to amend the methods for selecting the Chief Executive (CE) and forming LegCo.

Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon CE Donald Tsang said the government will soon complete the remaining steps of the five-step mechanism to amend the annexes to the Basic Law. He will give consent to the amendments, which will be reported to the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

Before the LegCo summer recess, its Constitutional Affairs Panel will be consulted on the details for the two elections in 2012. Legislative proposals on the two election methods and the abolition of the District Council appointment system will be submitted to LegCo when it resumes in autumn.

Noting the passage of the package lays down a milestone in the city's democratic development, Tsang reiterated the reform package will not only improve the city's electoral system, it also lays a solid foundation for the community to pursue detailed arrangements for universal suffrage according to the established timetable.

"What we see today is not a victory of any individual or any one party. It is a triumph of reason for the entire Hong Kong community," said Tsang.

"The vote today is both an end and a beginning. Hong Kong will no longer be the same. More and more people will join us on this journey to democracy and to the promised land of universal suffrage. With growing strength and confidence, we will overcome each and every challenge coming our way."

The 2012 constitutional reform package, announced by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on April 14, refers to a package of proposals on the methods of selecting Hong Kong's CE and on forming the city's LegCo in 2012.

Earlier on Friday, Hong Kong's LegCo passed the amendment to the method for forming the LegCo in 2012 on a 46-12 vote. On Thursday, it had passed the electoral method for selecting Hong Kong's CE in 2012 on a 46-13 vote.

Regarding the amendment to the method for forming the LegCo in 2012, the fifth term LegCo in the year 2012 shall be composed of 70 members, the number of seats should be increased from 60 to 70.

Of the new 10 seats, five will go to geographical constituencies through direct elections while the other five to functional constituencies.

The amendment was announced by the HKSAR government and illustrated by Chief Secretary Henry Tang at the LegCo meeting on April 14 this year. After that, some Hong Kong political organizations and persons had proposed the five new LegCo seats of functional constituencies in 2012 should be on a "1-person-2-votes " method.

On June 21,Donald Tsang said his Executive Council had given approval in principle to accept the "one-person-two-votes" proposal for returning the five new functional constituencies seats in 2012.

The HKSAR Executive Council said the five new functional constituencies seats in 2012 would be nominated by elected District Council members, for election on a one-person-one-vote basis, by about 3.2 million Hong Kong voters who currently do not have a right to vote in functional constituencies.

Under the "one-person-two-votes" proposal, Hong Kong's 3.43 million voters will all have two votes in the 2012 LegCo elections -- one for geographical constituencies and the other for functional constituencies.

According to the Amendment to the Method for the Selection of the CE, the number of the Election Committee to elect the fourth term CE in 2012 shall be increased from 800 to 1,200.

The composition of the 1,200-member committee shall be divided evenly into four sectors -- Industrial, commercial and financial sectors; the professions; labor, social services, religious and other sectors; as well as members of the Legislative Council, representatives of members of the District Councils, representatives of the Heung Yee Kuk, Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress, and Hong Kong's representatives of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Candidates for the office of Hong Kong CE should be jointly nominated by no less than 150 members of the Election Committee.

The Basic Law and the decision by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) in December 2007 provide that the methods of selecting Hong Kong's Chief Executive and on forming the LegCo in 2012 may be revised in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress.

The two electoral methods will take effect after receiving the consent of Chief Executive Donald Tsang and being reported to the NPCSC for approval.

Source: Xinhua


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