Donald Tsang says elections can be milestones in democracy The chief secretary last night urged lawmakers to drop their political differences to make the 2007 and 2008 elections milestones in Hong Kong's democracy. The appeal came as functional constituency lawmakers successfully blocked a controversial motion rejecting the report by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa on political reform. The National People's Congress Standing Committee last week ruled out universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008 after receiving Mr Tung's report. At the end of a three-hour heated debate yesterday, Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said the path to democracy had not reached a dead end. He said relentless conflict and discord was not the wish of Hong Kong people. 'How can we succeed in pushing for democratisation if we only champion an agenda that is outside of the framework of the Basic Law and the NPCSC decisions? How can a three-party consensus be built that way? 'I wish that members would think twice and be rational instead of going to different extremes,' he said. He rejected criticism that Beijing was now running Hong Kong, adding: 'There is nothing further from the truth to say that the implementation of 'one country, two systems' has failed.' He also said Hong Kong people did not want to confront Beijing and risk jeopardising the cordial relations with the central government. Mr Tsang denied the nine factors he has raised for democratic reform to proceed, and which were subsequently adopted in Mr Tung's report, were created 'out of the blue'. Independent legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said some of the nine factors implied that functional constituencies would exist forever and warned that universal suffrage would never be achieved if the nine factors were endorsed. One of the principles states that any changes should preserve balanced participation in politics by various elements of society. Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung said functional constituencies would not be kept indefinitely, but he said there should be a consensus on how to replace them in future.