Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying yesterday said he hoped the public would put forward political reform proposals that lay within the framework of the Basic Law, as he commemorated 24 years since the city's mini-constitution was passed.
On a blog post published on the anniversary of the Basic Law's proclamation yesterday, Leung, who was formerly secretary general of the Basic Law Consultative Committee, wrote: "Today we will have to take an important step on political reform in accordance with the Basic Law.
"This refers to our moving forward on universal suffrage in the chief executive and Legislative Council elections. This is a meaningful and significant matter."
Leung said the Basic Law, which the National People's Congress passed on April 4, 1990, was the result of a long and comprehensive discussion between experts and many groups from a range of industries.
The city's mini-constitution legally established the "one country, two systems" principle, with Hong Kong people running Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, he wrote.
He stressed that all discussion regarding the city's political reform should take place within the framework of the Basic Law.
At the centre of the ongoing debate over how Hong Kong will achieve universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election is the idea of public nomination - granting voters the right to put forward candidates.
Last month, Xu Chongde, the last of the four mainland academics dubbed the "guardians of the Basic Law", died at age 85.
Some of those involved in drafting the Basic Law did not live to mark yesterday's anniversary.
Xu, a law professor at Beijing's Renmin University, was a member of the Basic Law Drafting Committee between 1985 and 1990. He was also a member of the preparatory committee that oversaw Hong Kong's handover.
Xu's death came a year after that of Shao Tianren, another mainland drafter of the Basic Law. Shao died in 2012 aged 98. The other two "guardians", Wu Jianfan and Xiao Weiyun, died in 2004 and 2005 respectively.