Elections for Hong Kong’s parliament – previously scheduled for September 2020 – will be postponed due to a spike in coronavirus cases.
Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said the election will now be held on 5 September 2021, and the decision is aimed at “safeguarding people’s health”.
She said it was the “hardest choice” she has made in the past seven months, adding that the government has the support of the Chinese government in making the decision.
Hong Kong is dealing with a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, registering more cases this week than at any other point during the pandemic. The city recorded 3,273 infections as of Friday, more than double the tally on 1 July.
The move comes after 12 pro-democracy candidates, including activist Joshua Wong and current members of the Legislative Council, were disqualified from standing in the elections.
Candidates were barred from standing because of the lack of support for the sweeping national security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing, for previously calling on foreign governments to sanction Hong Kong and Chinese mainland officials, and for promising to block government legislation if elected to the LegCo as opposition members.
Postponing the elections by more than two weeks would trigger a “constitutional crisis”, 22 pro-democracy legislators warned, in a statement supplied before the announcement.