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TV debate on reform unnecessary

March 19, 2015

Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam says another televised debate or opinion poll on constitutional development may not be necessary.


Speaking to reporters today in response to a proposal by Prof Albert Chen to ask a judge to host an opinion poll and televised debate on constitutional development, Mr Tam said every issue relating to 2017 universal suffrage for the Chief Executive election has been fully debated in the past one or two years.


He added that various opinion polls had shown that most people would rather have the early implementation of universal suffrage on the basis of the Basic Law, and perhaps even on the basis of the National People's Congress Standing Committee’s decisions.


As the pan-democrats had vowed to reject any government resolution regardless of public opinion, Mr Tam believed that Prof Chen’s proposal would not be sufficient to change their mind.


He also said a more effective political process and a better compromise is needed to solve this impasse, but the joint statement the pan-democrats issued on March 9 had destroyed the basis for communication with the Central Government.


His bureau will now focus on completing the second phase public consultation report, to make an early submission to the legislature next month and kick off the third step of the five-step process.


In a statement issued today, the Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Bureau also said the National People's Congress Standing Committee’s decision on constitutional development made on August 31 will neither be retracted nor amended.


The statement noted the NPCSC chairman had mentioned the decision in his report submitted to the NPC on March 8, and the NPC then endorsed the report.