HK gov't committed to universal suffrage

(Xinhua)

09:39, July 18, 2013

HONG KONG, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong government is greatly committed to implementing universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant decisions and interpretations of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the city's Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam said Wednesday.

Tam told lawmakers that there are differing views on constitutional development, with varying opinions on some fundamental questions.

"The entire community has to seek common grounds and accommodate differences to forge a consensus," he said, adding strict adherence to the Basic Law, and to decisions and interpretations of the NPC Standing Committee will be an important basis for taking constitutional reform forward, with the aim of universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive.

The city's government has focused on handling livelihood and economic issues over the past year, he said, and it sees more opportunity for handling constitutional development issues in the coming year.

Although a formal consultation has not yet started, the government has monitored opinions and proposals put forward by different groups in the community, and has met with them to exchange views on constitutional development.

Tam said the government has previously consulted the public on whether the chief executive should be required or not to be a member of a political party.

In a report from April 2010, opinion polls showed more than half of respondents and written submissions expressed a desire to keep the requirement. At the time, the government decided it should not be changed for the 2012 election, but can be reviewed in the longer term.

"Since there are quite a few members of the public who have recently expressed views on the issue of political affiliation of the chief executive, we will consider including this issue in the consultation document during the formal consultation," he said.

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