The postponement of the 2020 Legislative Council (LegCo) General Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is a reasonable and legitimate decision, Tung Chee-hwa, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said on Saturday.
While expressing full understanding of and respect for the decision, Tung said that elections are an important manifestation of electors' exercise of political rights that are guaranteed by the Basic Law of the HKSAR, and the HKSAR government has the responsibility and obligation to ensure that elections are held in a fair, just, safe and orderly environment.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries including Britain, Italy and Australia have announced the postponement of their local elections, Tung noted.
Hong Kong is being hit by a new wave of COVID-19 outbreak, with the daily new cases exceeding 100, and it is unknown yet when it will peak, he said, warning that any large-scale public activity under such a severe epidemic situation will affect public health and security.
To postpone the LegCo election is a serious decision and the most appropriate arrangement made after careful consideration of various factors, Tung said.
"I believe all walks of life will support the decision by the HKSAR government, and will be committed to ensuring that the LegCo election will be held smoothly next year after the epidemic," he said.
HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Friday the decision to postpone the 2020 LegCo election for one year, which had been originally scheduled for sept. 6, 2020, calling it a "hard choice" but necessary to curb the epidemic outbreak, protect public security and health, and ensure the openness and fairness of the election.