Hong Kong delays elections by a year, due to ongoing pandemic

The semi-autonomous city's leader made the announcement Friday, with the support of the Chinese government

Updated: July 31, 2020 - 10:15am

The leader of Hong Kong announced Friday that the government is postponing the city's legislative elections by a year, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the decision, which invokes an emergency ordinance, comes with the support of the Chinese government. 

"The announce I have to make today is the most difficult decision I've had to make in the past seven months," Lam said. "We want to ensure fairness and public safety and health, and need to make sure the election is held in an open, fair and impartial manner. This decision is therefore essential."

Pro-democracy legislators, who were hoping to utilize the momentum of disenchantment with the current pro-Beijing majority in this election, stand in firm opposition to the decision.

A group of 22 pro-democracy politician on Friday released a statement saying, “Incumbent pro-democracy legislators, who represent 60% of the public’s opinion, collectively oppose the postponement and emphasize the responsibility of the SAR government to make every effort to arrange adequate anti-epidemic measures to hold elections in September as scheduled.”

SAR refers to Hong Kong's official title, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The city has reportedly been dealing with a surge of coronavirus infections during the month of July. On Friday, Hong Kong, a city of 7.5 million people, recorded nearly 3,300 new infections. 

Currently, the city's government has imposed strict behavioral limitations, including limiting public gatherings to two people, and banning dining-in at restaurants in the evening.

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