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Hong Kong Legislative Council elections postponed by a year


Hong Kong Legislative Council elections postponed by a year

hongkong elections
Photo: Winson Wong

Hong Kong’s legislative council election, originally scheduled to be held today, has been postponed by a year.

The government cited COVID-19 and public safety concerns. However, opposition leaders contend that this is the latest in a series of aggressive moves by pro-Beijing officials to sideline and silence the pro-democracy movement. In primaries hosted by the pro-democratic camp in July, more than 600,000 people voted, suggesting that pro-democratic leaders could win a majority in the legislative council. Opposition leaders believe that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) used the delay to avoid a potentially devastating defeat in the polls. Legal experts have also questioned the validity of the seldom-used emergency ordinance legal for the delay because it creates a legislative vacuum. Under Hong Kong’s laws, an election can only be postponed for up to 14 days in the event of a public health or safety risk.

The postponement will likely enable the CCP to tighten electoral regulations and intimidate pro-democratic activists in a bid to take control of the national narrative. If the CCP succeeds in gaining public support, expect Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists to see their momentum eroded. The CCP’s consolidation of power in Hong Kong is therefore likely to impede or completely undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy.

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