Local law amendments to be finalized by May after details of HK electoral reform come out in March
Published: Mar 23, 2021 03:00 PM
Hong Kong photo: VCG

Hong Kong photo: VCG

Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), said on Tuesday that the local government welcomes the timetable for amending relevant laws concerning Hong Kong electoral reform, and local authorities will work day and night to advance local law amendments involving over 20 main texts and auxiliaries. 

Hong Kong authorities are expected to finalize the local amendments by the end of May, given the urgency of the work and the fact that there are three major elections within 12 months, people familiar with the matter said. 

Chinese lawmakers are scheduled to meet and review the Hong Kong electoral reform legislature on March 29 and 30, including the amendment of Annex I and II of the Basic Law which stipulate the election method of the HKSAR chief executive and the formation method of the Legislative Council (LegCo). 

"We welcome the relevant timetable, and we will utilize every minute in implementing local amendment work… creating much room for LegCo to review the amendments," Lam told a press conference on Tuesday morning. 

Ahead of the upcoming session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee next week, a total of 66 seminars have been held by the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the liaison office of the central government in Hong Kong in mid-March, laying out detailed suggestions for the electoral overhaul. 

The detailed measures for electoral reform for Hong Kong may come out in late March, given the urgency and complexity of the next step of local law amendment in Hong Kong, two people familiar with the matter told the Global Times earlier. 

Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the Standing Committee of the NPC, told the Global Times on Tuesday that local law amendments are expected to be finalized by the end of May. Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, solicitor of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong, said pro-establishment lawmakers at LegCo have all come up with a consensus to accelerate the local law amendments, and will review the proposals for electoral overhaul "at full speed," Wong told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Several elections will be held in the next 12 months, so the local law amendment is an urgent task that requires the support and coordination of the LegCo, Lam was quoted as saying in previous media reports. She also suggested the LegCo internal affairs group set up a working group to discuss the decision of the NPC for coordinating relevant work, according to media reports. 

Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng told local media in Hong Kong that after Annex I and II of the Basic Law are amended, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau will come up with relevant measures while the Secretary for Justice will draft the relevant amendments, and it's expected that more than 20 articles will need to be amended. Staff members of the authority have begun handling relevant preparation work for the local law amendment, and will fully cooperate with the HKSAR government. 

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