At a press conference, Carrie Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong, said the move to postpone the Legislative Council elections scheduled for 6 September was the most difficult decision it had taken in the past seven months. She added that this decision was made by the Chinese central government.
Lam argued that the delay was necessary to protect public health and guarantee fairness in the election.
But pro-democracy activists welcomed the news of possible delays in key polls, accusing the government of wanting to avoid potential losses after China introduced a new national security law to the city banning secession, enslavement, terrorism and conspiracy. with foreign forces.
Opposition parties sought to provoke a wave of dissatisfaction with the government before a historic victory in the semi-democratic legislative phase, with just under half of the seats controlled by so-called functional constituencies that represent business and public groups and are generally behind government. .
Last year, pro-democracy candidates won the local council election. A similar result in the Legislative Council could allow them to force a constitutional crisis by blocking the budget and putting pressure on the Lama to resign. Both the Chinese and Hong Kong governments have suggested that such a plan could be illegal under the new national security law.
In a statement, the Hong Kong government said it supported the decisions of the returning officials to “invalidate 12 candidates for this year’s General Council (LegCo) general election”.
He said candidates were banned because they would disregard the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s de facto constitution, and suggested being disqualified in the future.
The government said it “respects and protects the legitimate rights of the people of Hong Kong, including the right to vote and to stand for election.”
Several letters posted online by candidates for returning officers informing them of their decision cited previous opposition to security law as the reason for the relocation.
“The excuse they use is that I describe (security law) as a draconian law that shows that I don’t support this ambitious law,” Wong said.
Another disqualified candidate, Dennis Kwok, is reportedly barred from expressing his intention to use his position as legislator “in a way that would force the government to comply with certain requirements,” essentially the work of the opposition legislature. democracies.
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