HONG KONG - Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said Monday that postponing the Legislative Council (LegCo) election is a hard choice and called for fewer conspiracy theories and divisions in society.
There is no other choice but to put off the election due to the high risk of infection amid the grave epidemic situation, Lam said when meeting Fan Hsu Lai-tai, former president of the LegCo, at the Government House.
If the election is held as scheduled, it will be unfair to hundreds of thousands of voters who cannot exercise their right for being stranded outside of Hong Kong due to the epidemic, Carrie Lam said
She cited risks listed in a letter from the chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, pointing out the involvement of millions of voters, the difficulty of implementing social distancing, and infection risks to voters and election staff.
If the election is held as scheduled, it will be unfair to hundreds of thousands of voters who cannot exercise their right for being stranded outside of Hong Kong due to the epidemic, Lam said.
Also, on Monday, in response to comments in a statement issued by the Hong Kong Bar Association on Aug 2, the HKSAR government said in a statement that the LegCo election had been postponed on public health grounds.
"With the stringent social distancing measures in place, no meaningful electioneering activities could be conducted; this would prevent candidates from putting across their manifesto to voters. Moreover, the strict boundary control measures make it virtually impossible for voters from the Mainland and overseas to return to cast their vote.
"In addition, legal, practical and time constraints mean it is not feasible to introduce measures such as extra polling days, postal voting or e-voting.
"The decision to postpone the election is therefore to protect public health and to protect the voting rights of all registered voters," reads the statement.
Fan expressed support for the government decision and said that politics cannot override people's life.
The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said earlier that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, will at the earliest possible date decide on how to deal with the vacancy of the LegCo incurred due to the postponement.
With Xinhua inputs
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