People should focus their political energy on encouraging others to vote rather than on pressing for faster progress towards democracy, the official in charge of elections said yesterday. The Government wanted to see an even higher turnout in September's elections than the record 53.4 per cent recorded in 1998, said Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Michael Suen Ming-yeung. Speaking at a lunch meeting co-organised by the Government's Economic and Trade Office in Toronto, Mr Suen said that although there were vocal calls for speedier transition to democracy, in reality people were more concerned about their livelihoods. 'The question of speeding up the pace of democratisation does not figure high among their concerns. 'Rather than pushing for development of our political system at a much faster pace than the timetable stipulated in the Basic Law, it would be more productive for advocates to use their energy and skills to broaden the political horizon and vision of our community, to prepare them for the period that runs up to 2007, and in particular to encourage more people to vote', Mr Suen said. The second post-handover Legco elections, which are due to be held in September, will return 24 out of 60 members through geographical constituencies; 30 seats go to functional groups and the remaining six are selected by an 800-member Election Committee. Opinion polls have found most people want to see the early introduction of full universal suffrage for the legislature and the chief executive. In terms of the Basic Law, this is only possible after 2007. Mr Suen was noncommittal on the Government's stance on full democracy. He said that if the legislature was to be wholly returned by universal suffrage, its electoral methods should not be considered in isolation but with the 'wider picture of the governance of Hong Kong' in mind. 'I have no doubt that the long-term goal of the community of Hong Kong is to have a stable political structure providing a constructive and workable relationship between our executive-led Government and a legislature elected through universal suffrage.' Mr Suen said the time was not yet right for the introduction of full democracy. 'The administration will need time for informed debate, analysis of different views, working out of options, for mapping out the way forward and ultimately for building a consensus. This is a very complex process.'