Decision to postpone HK LegCo elections tough but fair: Carrie Lam

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/4 11:20:41

Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam speaks at a press conference in south China's Hong Kong, July 7, 2020. Lam said Tuesday the law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong is conducive to the region's prosperity and stability and to the steady and sustained development of "one country, two systems." Photo:Xinhua

The decision to postpone the Legislative Council election was not an easy one to make, but considering the risk brought by the COVID-19 outbreak, there is no other way out, said Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam, who expressed the hope that society will not advocate conspiracy theories over the matter.

Election rights are important for Hong Kong residents, but millions of voters outside Hong Kong cannot return for the ballot as the city has imposed stringent exit and entry restrictions. Holding the elections as scheduled would be unfair to those voters. 

Lam made the statement when she met with the former head of Hong Kong's legislature Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai on Monday. 

The decision to postpone the LegCo elections received support by Fan, who said that as Hong Kong has seen consecutive days of more than 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the LegCo elections may cause more people to become infected. This is a responsibility that no one can shoulder, Fan said.

From a global perspective, the number of countries that have postponed elections surpasses those that have held them as planned. Politics cannot be placed above life, and at the same time, postponing the elections will better protect voters' rights, Fan said. 

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council recently stated that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) will make a decision in a timely manner regarding the vacancy of the legislature resulting from the postponement of the elections. Fan said she believes the NPC Standing Committee can handle the issue in a better way that will gain more Hong Kong citizens' understanding.

However, the postponement of the LegCo elections has stirred up some controversy, most recently with the Hong Kong Bar Association (HKBA) saying the decision is "unlawful."

There are serious doubts about the legal and evidential basis of the SAR government's decision, the HKBA said in a statement released on Sunday. 

In response to comments made by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the EU released a statement on Tuesday, saying that postponing the elections because of the severe pandemic situation is a justified and necessary step to ensure the safety and health of Hong Kong citizens and the safety, fairness and impartiality of the elections. 

Elections have been put off due to epidemics or other disasters in other parts of the world as well, and the Hong Kong SAR government followed this practice in making this legitimate, reasonable and lawful decision, said the spokesperson.

No foreign government, organization or individual has any right or reason to interfere as Hong Kong is China's special administrative region, the spokesperson noted.


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