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Developing democracy and enhancing governance a key theme of CE's Policy Address

    The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, has today (October 10) in his annual Policy Address promised to develop democracy and promote excellence in governance.    

     The release of Mr Tsang's Policy Address, the first of the Third Term Government of the HKSAR, also coincided with the end of the three-month public consultation on constitutional reform.

     "During the consultation period, the Government received thousands of submissions and proposals from different sectors and strata of the community," he said.

     "These views have expressed thoroughly the community's pluralistic aspirations on democratic development.

     "I am particularly moved and encouraged by the fact that the entire consultation has been conducted in a rational and pragmatic manner.
     "Hong Kong people treasure democracy and hope to implement universal suffrage as soon as possible. However, they are well aware that implementing universal suffrage is a complicated social exercise."

     Mr Tsang said democratic reform would have far-reaching implications on Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity, adding that the next step was to collate and summarise the views from the public consultation.

     "On this basis, we will submit a report to the Central Authorities, reflecting faithfully the community's views on democratic development," Mr Tsang said.

     "Let me reiterate that I will try my utmost to forge a consensus on the implementation of universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law within the Third Term of the HKSAR Government.

     "I will also strive to secure the Central Authorities' trust and understanding for its early implementation."

     Mr Tsang said the proposed creation of two new tiers of politically appointed positions - Deputy Directors of Bureau and Assistants to Directors of Bureau - would further develop the Government's Accountability System.

     "I hope that these positions can be created as soon as possible to provide the team of Principal Officials with stronger support in carrying out political work, and in leading an outstanding, permanent and politically neutral civil service," he said.

     "I believe that the additional political appointments offer excellent opportunities to professional political talents to gain public administration experience."

     The Chief Executive promised to improve work at the district level by enhancing the roles of all 18 District Councils (DCs) from January next year.

     He said funding for DCs to conduct community involvement activities would be increased to $300 million a year, while a dedicated block vote for district minor works proposed by DCs would be increased to $300 million per year.

     District Officers will also be given more resources to support their district administration work, to promptly address issues concerning people's livelihoods and to more effectively implement government policies at the grassroots level.

     Mr Tsang said more would be done to promote the Basic Law and national education.

     Basic Law-related training for civil servants will be enhanced, while the Basic Law would be incorporated into the civil service recruitment examination.

     "At the same time, we will work closely with the working groups under the Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee to step up the promotion of the Basic Law in local communities and schools," he said.

     The promotion of national education in schools, as well as the wider community, would be stepped up to enhance people's understanding of the nation's history, culture and development.

     "The objective is to foster among young people a sense of affinity with our motherland and heighten their sense of national pride and identity," he said.

     Mr Tsang singled out the 2008 Beijing Olympics as an excellent opportunity to promote national education as well as sports in the wider community.

Ends/Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Issued at HKT 13:56


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