Hong Kong adjourns legislative elections over coronovirus fears

At a press conference, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the move to postpone the Legislative Council elections, for 6 September, was the toughest decision in the past seven months. He said that he had the support of the Chinese central government in making this decision.

Lam said the delay was needed to guarantee the safety and fairness of public health in the election.

The virus infection has steadily increased in recent weeks, after zero daily broadcasts fell in June, and health officials have warned of a potential crisis if it is not brought under control.

But pro-democracy people had greeted the news of a possible delay with the mess in the main election, alleging that the potential damage after the government imposed a new national security law on the city, ban isolation, terrorism, and collusion Wants to avoid With foreign forces.

Opposition parties aimed to spark a wave of dissatisfaction with the government for a historic victory in a quasi-democratic legislature where only half the seats are controlled by so-called functional constituencies, which represent business and society groups and are usually pro-active There is a government.

The recently formed primary election to reduce the number of pro-democracy opposition candidates attracted more than 600,000 votes, with 170,000 or more organizers expected. However, Beijing attracted ire, which suggested that the vote was illegally interfering with the upcoming vote.

Last year, pro-democracy candidates won a landslide victory in local council elections. A similar result in the Legislative Council could put them in a position to force a constitutional crisis by blocking the budget and pressuring Lam to resign. Both China and Hong Kong governments have suggested that such a scheme may be illegal under the new national security law.

This week, a dozen pro-democracy candidates were barred from standing for the election, including leading activist Joshua Wong.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement that it supported the authorities’ decision to “invalidate 12 candidates for this year’s Legislative Council (Legoco) general election”.

It added that the candidates were withheld on the grounds that they would not uphold the basic law, the de facto constitution of Hong Kong, and suggested that they may be disqualified in the future.

The government said that it “respects and protects the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong, including the right to vote and the right to stand for elections.”

Joshua Wong, featured in a press conference on July 31, among pro-democracy candidates to stand for election this week.

Several letters posted online by disqualified candidates by withdrawal officials informed of their decision which led to previous opposition to the security law.

“The excuse they use is described as a security law,” Wong said, which shows that I do not support this comprehensive law. “

Another unqualified candidate, Dennis Kwok, was reportedly barred because of his intention to use his position as a legislator “in such a way as to force the government to make certain demands,” effective. Mostly in a democratic country, the work of an opposing legislator.

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, which represents lawmakers in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, called the disqualification, as well as election delays, “unacceptable to the democratic process in Hong Kong and further Increase. Concerns about the erosion of rights and freedoms in the city. ”

This story is breaking news. More to follow…


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