Hong Kong parliamentary elections will be postponed by one year because of the corona virus, regional leader Carrie Lam confirmed at a news conference on Friday. The news came out earlier today through local media.
Lam speaks of her most difficult decision since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Hong Kong seven months ago. By postponing the ballot box from September 6, 2020 to September 5, 2021, she hopes to prevent more people from becoming infected.
In the Chinese region, the number of new infections is increasing faster. On Thursday, 149 positive tests were reported, the largest number since the virus was first detected in Hong Kong in late January. On Friday there were 121.
The highest-ranking director uses her emergency powers to postpone the elections. She says she is supported in this by the central government in Beijing. Lam is still in discussion with members of parliament about how their extra year as a representative of the people will be designed.
Lam announced her decision after the election deadline set earlier today. There were no “political considerations” at stake, she says.
The people of Hong Kong will now go to the polls on September 5, 2021. (Photo: Pro Shots)
First parliamentary elections since major protests
The parliamentary elections would be the first since the protests against a controversial extradition proposal in the spring of 2019. Although that bill was withdrawn after several months, demonstrations did not end due to dissatisfaction with the government.
The prodemocratic camp hoped to make a big profit in the elections on September 6, just like last year’s district elections. The movement hoped to take advantage of the discontent with the government and the security law recently introduced by Beijing.
Half of the members of the Hong Kong Parliament are elected by the people. The rest are chosen by representatives of 28 different companies and interest groups that often support Beijing. The districts form one of these groups.
On Thursday, it was announced that twelve prodemocrats, including Joshua Wong, should not participate in the elections. According to the authorities, it has been proven that they are not behind the basic law, a kind of mini-constitution. It is not excluded that more candidates will be excluded.