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HKSAR govt officials brief stakeholders on electoral reform

Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung (second right) meets with Legislative Council Members Kwok Wai-keung (first left), Ms Alice Mak (second left) and Mr Luk Chung-hung (first right) to explain the improvements to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's electoral system on April 7, 2021 (HKSAR GOVT)

Ranking Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government officials on Wednesday (April 7) briefed the city's various sectors and stakeholders on the improvements to the electoral system.

Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung met with some Legislative Council (LegCo) members and Hong Kong members of national organizations to explain the benefits of electoral reform.

Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing, Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui Ying-wai, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong, and Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee also held briefings with their respective sectors.

According to a government statement, Cheung stressed that the amended Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ensures that the electoral system of the HKSAR can progress with wider representation and better cope with the actual situation of Hong Kong, with a view to putting Hong Kong's political structure back on a firmer and more promising footing.

Improving the electoral system is an urgent move to ensure the steadfast and successful implementation of "one country, two systems" and a pragmatic move to promote Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability, Cheung said.

He said that the HKSAR government would spare no effort in taking forward the task in amending the relevant local electoral laws within a tight time frame, with a view to introducing a bill to the LegCo in mid-April.

Cheung expressed the hope that LegCo Members would support the work on local legislation and strive to pass the bill by the end of May.

He also said that the core of the current improvements to the electoral system is to enlarge the membership of the Election Committee (EC) to 1,500 and to adjust and improve the composition of the EC by empowering it with new functions.

The Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) and Hong Kong members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) will be the Ex-officio Members in the new "fifth sector" of the enlarged EC, while some EC seats will be returned through election among Hong Kong members of the relevant national organizations, according to a government statement.

Apart from nominating LegCo Members, the Hong Kong deputies to the NPC, Hong Kong members of the CPPCC and that of the relevant national organizations will elect one LegCo Member in one of the new functional constituencies of the LegCo, it added.

Cheung encouraged participants to brief people in different sectors of the community on the improvements to the electoral system to deepen their understanding of the new electoral system as well as its necessity and urgency.

Secretary for Security Lee Ka-chiu (third left) briefs the representatives of District Fight Crime Committees, District Fire Safety Committees and Area Committees of three districts on the background and objectives of improving Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's electoral system on April 7, 2021. Looking on is Permanent Secretary for Security Carol Yip (fourth left). (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVT)

In his briefing sessions, Secretary for Security Lee said the amendments would plug the loopholes and eliminate the deficiencies in the existing electoral system.

Citing chaos and illegal acts that happened in various council meetings in the past as examples, Lee pointed out the importance and necessity of full implementation of the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong", as well as safeguarding the constitutional order as enshrined under the Constitution and the Basic Law.

He emphasized that improving Hong Kong's electoral system further enhances its broad representation and balanced participation in accordance with the actual situation in Hong Kong.

It allows Hong Kong society to move away from the excessive politicization and the internal rifts that have plagued the city in recent years, thereby enhancing the governance capability of the HKSAR, Lee added.

(Source: China Daily)

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