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Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 08:55

CE to submit report on political reform to NPCSC

By Kahon Chan in Hong Kong

 CE to submit report on political reform to NPCSC
Chief Executive CY Leung introduces the Central Government's white paper on the One Country Two Systems principle during a press conference in Hong Kong on June10. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

The Chief Executive (CE) will submit the report on constitutional reform in Hong Kong to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) today (Tuesday) — and recommend changes to Appendix I of the Basic Law.

This marks the official start of the five-step procedure to launching new electoral reforms in Hong Kong.

The government will unveil two reports before the Legislative Council (LegCo) today. One is addressed to the top legislature in Beijing. The second is the report on the views of Hong Kong people as expressed during the five-month public consultation which ended in early May.

Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who leads the task force charged with the public consultation, will present the two reports to the LegCo House Committee at 2:30 pm. Both reports will be published online for public viewing.

Carrie Lam, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen will then attend a press conference after the LegCo meeting. This is to further elaborate on the finer details of the reports.

At the same time copies of both reports will be couriered to the NPCSC for consideration. The country’s top lawmakers are expected to make a decision in August regarding whether there is a need to revise the two appendices in the Basic Law concerning election methods.

Article 45 of the Basic Law stipulates that the CE will eventually be selected by universal suffrage. This will occur after a candidate has been selected by a broadly representative Nominating Committee. A 2007 NPCSC decision fixed the date for 2017.

The public consultation that began last December was considered an official start to exploring options for the 2017 election setup. But the CE’s report is seen as the first of the five steps, laid out by the NPCSC in 2004, as necessary in order to allow electoral reform to proceed in Hong Kong.

Following the NPCSC decision in August, the Hong Kong government was expected to offer options on the reform package by the end of year. It must also table a motion in LegCo in 2015 outlining the final proposals. A two-third majority is required for it to pass.

Once the package is cleared by LegCo it will require the CE’s consent and final approval by the nation’s top legislature. The SAR government will still have to specify details about the two elections.

Officials and experts ruled out “public nomination” long ago as failing to conform to the Basic Law and NPCSC decisions. Nevertheless the consultation report will note that the proposal still enjoys certain support in Hong Kong.

Legislators from the opposition camp said on Monday they would not stage protests at Tuesday’s meeting. Student groups and “Occupy Central” campaign leaders also told TVB news they would not consider any actions until the NPCSC makes its decision.


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