Official dashes Anson Chan's timetable hope

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 May, 2006, 12:00am

Government officials gave the cold shoulder yesterday to Anson Chan Fang On-sang's call for a universal suffrage timetable by July next year.


Lau Siu-kai, head of the Central Policy Unit, said it would be counterproductive if a deadline was imposed on the ongoing discussions within the Commission on Strategic Development.


'We can't impose a deadline and force through a consensus. It may just drag [out] the process,' Professor Lau said after attending the commission's meeting.


Mrs Chan, speaking at the Society of Publishers in Asia awards on Thursday, said she would like to see newspaper headlines on a universal suffrage timetable on Hong Kong's 10th anniversary next year.


The commission's committee on governance and political development yesterday met to discuss the principles of universal suffrage.


Officials hope to finish discussions on the various models of universal suffrage for the chief executive and the Legislative Council by next year. The models will provide the basis for further discussion about a timetable.


After the meeting, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung said members' views on the principles were 'very close'.


He said the meeting had provided a basis to move on to discussion of the methods for electing the chief executive and Legislative Council.


But unionist legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, also a committee member, disagreed that members had come to a consensus to move forward.


'I don't think it's correct to say we largely agree on the principles. I think the government is trying to impose its conclusion on us by saying we have no major divergence from the principles laid down,' he said.


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