Conditions for electoral change in 2007 laid out in the Basic Law 'already met' A group of leading lawyers has urged the government taskforce on constitutional reform not to get bogged down in the technicalities of the Basic Law and to express the groundswell of support for universal suffrage. The Article 45 Concern Group said the three-member taskforce should clearly reflect the public's strong desire for the introduction of universal suffrage in 2007 when it meets central government officials in Beijing. The comments came after members of the group yesterday met the head of the taskforce, Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, to express their views on constitutional reform. Alan Leong Kar-kit, a member of the group, referred to two key requirements of Article 45 of the Basic Law which are required for changes in the method of electing the chief executive. They were that change should be 'gradual and orderly' and interpreted in light of Hong Kong's 'actual situation'. Hong Kong's actual situation showed strong public demand for universal suffrage in 2007, Mr Leong said. He also said three elections held since the handover and an increase in the number of directly-elected seats in the Legislative Council showed there had been a 'gradual and orderly' movement towards political reform. 'Why does it [Article 45] say 'actual situation'?' Mr Leong said. 'It is because we have to assess what the actual situation ... is like in Hong Kong and then we use 'gradual and orderly' progress to complement the actual situation. The process should be used to serve the actual need [for reform].' Mr Leong said the taskforce, which was expected to meet central government officials soon, should channel the views of the public for universal suffrage in 2007. Fellow lawyer and group member Gladys Li said: 'The question is ... should there be a change, if so, what sort of change should there be? 'As far as we are concerned, the main task of the taskforce should be to reflect the views of people in Hong Kong, in that they want universal suffrage and they want it now.' Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, the legal sector's representative in Legco, said the views of Basic Law drafter Xiao Weiyun, who suggested that Hong Kong may not have universal suffrage until 2047, should not be taken as the official interpretation of the Basic Law. Professor Xiao's comments differed to those of another Basic Law drafter, the late Ji Pengfei, who said the mini-constitution allowed for universal suffrage after 2007. Ms Ng also said Beijing should reveal its bottom line on whether universal suffrage would be allowed by 2007. 'Beijing cannot ignore public demand ... It should make clear under what conditions it would consider [public] views as majority views so we can carry out ... a referendum or opinion survey.'