US consul general talks democracy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 May, 2010, 12:00am

US Consul General Stephen Young says the city has America's backing in its quest for a democratically elected leader by 2017 and the Legislative Council three years later, although how this is achieved is up to Hong Kong.

Making his first public remarks as the new consul general at an American Chamber of Commerce lunch, Young said the city's people and government recognised that the mainland is a 'player' in Hong Kong's affairs under the 'one country, two systems' principle. 'Hong Kong now has the opportunity to make progress towards universal suffrage for the elections of the Chief Executive in 2017 and the Legislative Council in 2020. We are excited for the Hong Kong people and support them in their expressed desire to achieve elections by universal suffrage at the earliest possible date,' he said. 'Beyond that, we believe that specific issues should be managed by the people and the government of Hong Kong.'

He declined to comment on the results of Sunday's Legco by-elections, which the Civic Party and League of Social Democrats wanted to reflect a 'de facto referendum' on the scope of democratisation. He also reserved comment on the future of Legco's functional constituency seats, which critics argue give special-interest groups too much say in the electoral process.