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Government's response to media enquiries on "civil referendum"

     In response to media enquiries concerning the so-called "civil referendum" organised by some groups which starts today (June 20), a government spokesman stressed that "civil referendum" did not exist in the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and our domestic legislation. Therefore, it has no legal effect.

     "The HKSAR Government has collected different views expressed by different groups and individuals in the community on the method for selecting the Chief Executive (CE) in 2017, particularly regarding the nominating procedures for CE candidates, during the five-month public consultation on constitutional development," the spokesman said.

     "The HKSAR Government has repeatedly stated that proposals on political development should be, legally, strictly in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant Interpretation and Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC); politically, the proposals should stand a reasonable chance of gaining the support of the community and securing passage by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Legislative Council; and operationally, the proposals should be practical and practicable," the spokesman added.

     "Regarding the 'civic nomination' proposal advocated by some groups and individuals, the HKSAR Government has repeatedly pointed out that according to Article 45 of the Basic Law, the power to nominate CE candidates is vested in the Nominating Committee (NC) only. We also note that there are many opinions in the community, including those from legal professional groups and individuals, that 'civic nomination' will bypass or undermine the substantive powers of the NC to nominate candidates and hence is, legally, highly controversial. Politically, such a proposal will unlikely be conducive to forging consensus, and operationally, the feasibility of implementation is questionable. In view of the controversies of such a proposal in the legal, political and operational aspects, the HKSAR Government believes that it is unlikely that such a proposal will be adopted.

     "The HKSAR Government appeals to the community to forge consensus in a rational and pragmatic manner and on the basis of the Basic Law and relevant Interpretation and Decisions of the NPCSC; and in discussing specific proposals, pay due regard to the legal, political and operational aspects, with a view to successfully implementing universal suffrage for the CE election in a timely manner in 2017 and in accordance with the law, so that more than five million eligible voters will be able to elect the next CE by 'one man, one vote' in 2017," the spokesman said.

Ends/Friday, June 20, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:19


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