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Statement by the Hon. Mrs. Anson Chan GBM, GCMG, JP
Press Conference on 6 July 2008

Thank you all for attending this briefing. There has been considerable speculation as to my intentions and I feel it is now time to announce publicly that I will not be seeking re-election to the Legislative Council in the forthcoming September elections.

This has been a very difficult decision. I am at a time in my life when I must balance community expectations with personal responsibilities and family considerations.

Last December when I decided to stand for election, we were facing considerable uncertainties as to the outcome of the fundamentally flawed consultation process on the Government Green Paper on Constitutional Development. I judged that this was a pivotal moment in the campaign for full universal suffrage and that I must respond. I also wanted to give the people of Hong Kong island genuine choice and an opportunity to make their voices heard.

The recent fiasco with the appointment of undersecretaries and political aides highlights the unsustainability of a political appointment system that lacks popular mandate. As I have said on many previous occasions, attempting to create politicians artificially through a system that is neither open nor transparent, is not the answer. Instead, we should be building purposefully on the political party system to groom a new generation of young, politically motivated men and women who are ready to stand up and be counted, ready to speak up for ordinary citizens and ready to undergo the rough and tumble of open election - including facing defeat if the tide of public opinion is not with them. Only in this way will Hong Kong begin to emerge as a mature, democratically based society. This goal is all the more important now that we have firm dates for universal suffrage to work towards, that is 2017 and 2020.

I am extremely touched by the many calls I have received urging me to stand for re-election. The truth is that our community needs strong and principled voices speaking out both within and outside the legislature. I have come to the conclusion that, at this point in time, it is best to make way for younger candidates and that I can make a more valuable contribution to the evolution of democratically based governance working outside the Legislative Council.

I intend to devote more time to the guidance and mentoring of future electoral candidates, rising stars who share the pro-democracy vision and have the aspiration and ability to become the political leaders of tomorrow. In addition, as you know, I have accepted the role of Convenor of the Steering Group of the recently launched Citizens’ Commission on Constitutional Development. I and my fellow Steering Group members hope that the work of the Commission will serve as a catalyst for genuine public engagement and discussion on the best way forward in 2012 and beyond. I sincerely urge my fellow citizens to support this initiative by sending us your views via our website and by joining the Commission’s forthcoming opinion gathering forums and seminars.

Finally I want to thank, most sincerely, all those who voted for me last December. It was a hard fought campaign in which my principal opponent was backed by a formidable electoral machine and many thousands of ‘cast iron’ votes. Despite this, with your support, I was elected with a margin of over 38,000 votes, demonstrating that the power of genuine democracy can prevail against formidable odds and give true expression to the will of the electorate. I have done my very best to fulfill the trust you placed in me.

Going forward, I want to assure you that my commitment to the goal of achieving a long term model of genuine democratic good governance for Hong Kong people remains as strong as ever. While I will not be offering myself for re-election, I will play an active role campaigning in support of candidates who share the values and convictions that I hold dear and who are committed to work for the interests of the whole community. I very much hope that they can count on the sustained support from Hong Kong voters that I have been privileged to enjoy.

Thank you.



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