Constitutional reform and safeguarding economic recovery take priority over security legislation, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said yesterday. The Article 23 bill would not be reintroduced to Legco until there was a 'basic consensus' on the question. 'We have no plans for the time being and will not seek to start afresh the process for legislating Article 23 ... We will not consider the question now,' Mr Tung said, following calls from pro-Beijing and pro-government lawmakers for a solution to the issue after their success in the Legislative Council elections. An academic said Mr Tung's uncharacteristic decisiveness showed the chief executive was unwilling to trade a safe passage through his final three years in office for another political storm. Mr Tung said: 'For the government, the most important task at hand is to make every effort to sustain our economic recovery. 'We will consider the [the anti-sedition and anti-subversion legislation] only after the community has reached a basic consensus on this question and after we have satisfactorily dealt with economic recovery, economic restructuring and constitutional arrangements.' Yeung Sum, chairman of the Democratic Party, praised Mr Tung for a good decision. James Tien Pei-chun, leader of the Liberal Party, who on Wednesday had said the time was right for reintroduction of the security bill, took a different line after meeting Mr Tung yesterday. 'Either you do it now, when there is ample time for consultation, or, if you don't, you should not suddenly put it on the agenda in 2006 and rush it through in a few months,' he said. Other pro-Beijing politicians were divided as to whether the legislation should be enacted during Mr Tung's term. Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said Mr Tung 'has to save his own skin. The last thing he wants is to stir another 500,000 protesters and get a 'premature death' before serving out his term.' Another analyst, China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu, said Beijing was also reluctant to stir up public sentiment when reconciliation was the dominant political theme.