Politics

Hong Kong vetoes 12 opposition candidates from legislative elections

By Victor Escribano Calderón

Beijing, Jul 30 (efe-epa).- At least 12 candidates of the pro-democratic opposition of Hong Kong have been vetoed by the Electoral Commission for the next legislative elections of the Chinese autonomous city, scheduled for next September 6 but which could be postponed due to the new outbreak of coronavirus in the city.

In a statement released Thursday, the local government said it supports the decision, and announced that Commission officials “are still reviewing the validity of other nominations,” so the number of barred opponents could increase soon.

The list of barred candidates Thursday includes some of Hong Kong’s prominent pro-democarcy leaders such as the secretary-general of the now obsolete Demosisto party, Joshua Wong, or the deputy and number one of the Civic Party, Alvin Yeung.

“I was just disqualified from LegCo election, despite being the biggest winner in #Hkprimaries. (…) #Beijing now staged the biggest-ever crackdowns on the city’s election, by disqualifying nearly all pro-democracy runners,” Wong lamented on his Twitter account shortly after the decision was made public.

According to the Hong Kong Executive, the disqualifications of these 12 candidates are due to the fact that they have not fulfilled their duty to present a signed declaration in which they commit to protect the Basic Law (the local “mini-constitution”) and to “pledge allegiance” to the People’s Republic of China.

The electoral authority considers that those who advocate for the independence of Hong Kong, ask other countries to intervene in local affairs, refuse to accept that the former British colony is Chinese sovereign territory, or oppose the enactment of the Beijing approved National Security Law for the city cannot honestly protect the Basic Law.

After winning the district councilor elections in November, the pro-democratic opposition now hoped to win the majority of seats in the local legislature.

However, another reason the Electoral Commission gave for the disqualification was “expressing an intention to exercise the functions of a LegCo Member by indiscriminately voting down any legislative proposals, appointments, funding applications and budgets introduced by the HKSAR Government after securing a majority in the LegCo so as to force the Government to accede to certain political demands.”

The Government assured that “there is no question of any political censorship, restriction of the freedom of speech or deprivation of the right to stand for elections as alleged by some members of the community.”

The elections are scheduled for Sep. 6, but in the last few hours, numerous rumors have emerged in the local press that the government may consider postponing them for a year due to the new wave of COVID-19 infections in the city, although there has been no official confirmation in this regard. EFE-EPA

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