The election of the SAR's next chief executive will not be held until next February at the earliest, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Michael Suen Ming-yeung said. Mr Suen said the bill on the election would be tabled in the Legislative Council for scrutiny within three or four weeks. He expected it would be passed by the end of the year, with the election to follow not earlier than February. The timetable was unveiled at a Legco constitutional affairs panel meeting yesterday. Mr Suen also apologised to legislators for the way the Government had dealt with the role of the 800-member Election Committee in choosing the next chief executive. It was not until December last year that the Government announced the Election Committee, which picked six legislators last September, would also choose the next chief executive of the SAR. 'I admit the way we handled this matter was not good,' he said. 'I feel regret and I have to say sorry. One becomes more wise after each lesson. We will do better after learning these lessons.' Legislators had accused Mr Suen of keeping the public in the dark over the committee's role.