Set against a looming row over constitutional reform, the move by a central government think-tank to reconstruct the so-called legislative intent of the city's political structure in the Basic Law could become a recipe for more controversy. On the face of it, the Hong Kong and Macau Research Institute was attempting to document the memories of former Basic Law drafters about details of their closed-door sessions on the post-1997 charter during the lengthy drafting process. This could help provide a valuable source of information and insight for academic research on issues relating to the Basic Law. However, it is clear the exercise has been driven by political considerations ahead of a debate on the electoral arrangements for 2007 and 2008, and more importantly, issues central to the whole political structure. These include a set of principles in the Basic Law such as orderly and gradual progress, the practical situation and balanced participation relating to the development of universal suffrage, which have been subjects of different interpretation since calls for universal suffrage grew after the 2003 protests. Despite a clear demarcation of powers and responsibilities in the Basic Law, there has been no lack of bickering over the operation of the political system since the handover. Insisting the Basic Law has provided an executive-led structure, mainland legal experts and former drafters have claimed the Legislative Council crossed a red line with actions such as a vote of no-confidence in ministers. The central authorities are adamant the executive-led system, as provided in the Basic Law, has not been fully implemented. Playing down the political weight of the 'memory-finding' exercise, a senior mainland researcher maintained the findings would only provide reference for the National People's Congress Standing Committee when necessary. But given its official background and composition, the institute's report looks set to provide what Beijing considers as historical evidence to back its case in electoral and constitutional debates. With the promulgation of the Basic Law 15 years ago, going down the memory lane of former drafters - many of whom are over 70 - is in itself vulnerable to challenge over its accuracy. Sceptics and cynics would dismiss the exercise as an attempt to reinterpret crucial provisions on political structure for political expediency. Rather than seeking to forge consensus on contentious provisions, the exercise will create more disputes and muddle the political debate if it is aimed at twisting and spinning the facts for political reasons.