Lam pledges full cooperation on electoral reform

2021-03-09 12:02:22

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, meets the media at Central Government Office in Hong Kong on Monday. [CALVIN NG/CHINA DAILY] Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pledged on Monday to fully cooperate with the central government on improving the city's electoral system. Speaking to media after returning to Hong Kong from Beijing, Lam expressed gratitude to the central government for taking care of the defects and gaps in Hong Kong's electoral system, a problem the city had found it difficult to handle on its own. By keeping the power to administer the SAR in the hands of patriots, "one country, two systems" can be fully and accurately implemented in the city, Lam said. The Constitution and Law Committee of the National People's Congress on Monday deliberated on a draft decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong SAR before it was handed to all NPC delegations for deliberation. Details of the draft were not disclosed. It is understood that it will be put to a vote at the NPC on Thursday. Members of the committee unanimously agreed to adopt a two-step approach of "decision plus amendment", according to China Central Television. That is, the NPC will make a decision in accordance with relevant laws. The NPC Standing Committee will then amend Annex I and Annex II to the Hong Kong SAR Basic Law in accordance with relevant laws and the NPC's decision. Members considered that such procedures complied with the provisions and principles of the Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR and have a solid political and legal foundation. In Hong Kong, Lam revealed that the Hong Kong SAR government will support and cooperate with the central government to reform the electoral system in several phases. The SAR government will roll out a comprehensive program to explain the necessity and importance of the law amendment and the process of the amendment to the public. It will then introduce local legislation and arrange a series of local elections in accordance with the newly amended laws, she said. There's a pressing need to complete local legislation on improving the city's electoral system as soon as possible. Lam said that although there's no time to launch a thorough public consultation to collect views, the government had listened to and collected residents' opinions on the matter. She stressed that the improvements are not directed at benefiting any individuals, but to ensure the power to administer the region is in the hands of patriots, in order to safeguard the city's constitutional order under the Basic Law as well as its long-term prosperity and stability.