Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

No changes planned for reform package

South China Morning Post - 25 November 2005

The government would not withdraw its electoral reform package and had no back-up plan, the chief secretary said yesterday.

Instead, the administration had other preparations to make for elections in 2007 and 2008, said Rafael Hui Si-yan.

"The proposal has to be voted on in December because of the limited time and the reality we are facing," he told Central and Western district councillors.

"I already tabled the proposal to the legislature, so we have no plan to withdraw it," he said, adding that he expected the proposal to be voted on by the Legislative Council next month as scheduled.

His comments came after Ma Lik, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, on Wednesday floated the idea of the government first withdrawing its constitutional reform package to allow more time for the public to discuss the issues.

Mr Hui yesterday held two briefing sessions with Central and Western, and Eastern district councils where he was greeted by groups of supporters and protesters. Most district councillors backed the government proposal.

Some councillors said it was a threat for the government to tell the public that Hong Kong's constitutional development would not move forward if the proposal was not accepted. In Brussels, Charles Tannock of the European People's Party told pro-democracy lawmakers Martin Lee Chu-ming, Ronny Tong Ka-wah and Sin Chung-kai that Hong Kong should enjoy more democracy. Mr Tannock said the British government had the post-colonial responsibility to urge Beijing to implement democratic development in Hong Kong as stipulated in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.