The government would decide at the end of this year when to launch the next round of consultations on electoral methods for the chief executive and Legislative Council elections in 2012, it said yesterday. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung made the announcement after the fourth and final meeting of the Commission on Strategic Development's task group on constitutional development. He said the government would be concentrating on this year's Legco election in the next three months. 'We will then make a decision as soon as possible in the fourth quarter as to when to launch the next public consultation,' Mr Lam said. The government would be compiling opinions collected between now and the public consultation. This would be followed by a proposal to the Legislative Council and possibly by amendments to annexes I and II of the Basic Law. Mr Lam said yesterday's meeting had covered the formation of the Election Committee for 2012, with most members agreeing that it should be transformed into a nominating committee when universal suffrage for the chief executive was implemented in 2017. Most members had agreed that the number of Legco seats should be increased from 60 to 70, while some said the figure could be raised to 80. The nationalities of future lawmakers had also been discussed. Mr Lam said most members agreed that candidates with foreign right of abode should continue to be eligible for 12 functional constituency seats because Hong Kong was an international city. Task group member Louis Shih Tai-cho said after the meeting that it would hardly be acceptable if the government failed to launch the next public consultation this year. 'It is late June and now the task group has finished its discussion,' he said. 'I think the government should present proposals to the public earlier so that political parties and prospective candidates could prepare for the coming elections.' Another member, Samuel Yung Wing-ki, said the government's timetable was reasonable and he believed there would be ample time for later steps.