Draft poll laws 'to be passed'

EXECUTIVE Councillor Professor Felice Lieh-mak said yesterday that draft legislation on arrangements for the 1994-95 Legislative Council elections would definitely be passed within the current Legco session.

''It takes time to prepare for the elections; we can't wait until the next session in October,'' she said.

Asked if she was optimistic that there would be Sino-British talks on political reform, Professor Lieh-mak said the current impasse had to be resolved.

But she would not say whether Exco was likely to extend the scheduled February deadline for gazetting the 1995 election legislation when members meet tomorrow.

Meanwhile, an independent legislator warned yesterday that the chance of Legco approving the political reforms proposed by the Governor, Mr Chris Patten, would rise if the current Sino-British row continued.

Mr Andrew Wong Wang-fat, an elected Legco member and university lecturer, said: ''If China continues to take a strong stand against the Patten proposals, Legco members will feel the high autonomy of the territory is being threatened and do what they can to protect the autonomy.


''If both sides fail to reach any agreement, or diplomatic relations deteriorate, I believe more than half of Legco members will support the Patten proposals.

''Besides some technical amendments, the bills will have to be approved without any major changes,'' Mr Wong added.

But Liberal Democratic Foundation executive committee member Miss Maria Tam Wai-chu disagreed, saying the proposals would be heavily amended by Legco.

Legislator Mr Frederick Fung Kin-kee, who is the chairman of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, said the passage would hinge on one or two votes.


The two legislators warned that any resolutions agreed by Britain and China would have to be acceptable to Legco.

''If not, the agreement or laws will not be approved by the Legco. We are not a rubber-stamp,'' Mr Wong said.


Despite China's insistence that it would only deal with Britain, Mr Wong said a Hongkong government official should be allowed to go with any British delegation to comment on matters of local interest.

Miss Tam said Britain should send its most senior civil servant to Beijing for the talks.

Hongkong affairs adviser Mr Cheng Yiu-tong said Britain and China had yet to solve the technicalities involved before the talks could take place.


It would be fair to both sides if the Patten proposals were not on the agenda. They could start negotiations based on the seven diplomatic letters exchanged between them, he added.