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Hong Kong government to postpone Legislative Council polls

Chief Executive of China's HKSAR Carrie Lam

Hong Kong, July 31 (UITV/IANS)- The Hong Kong government is expected to announce on Friday that it will postpone the Legislative Council elections due on September 6, citing the worsening COVID-19 situation as the primary reason, sources said.

The move to postpone the polls comes at the end of the nomination period, which will officially close at 5 p.m. on Friday, and after the mass disqualification of 12 opposition hopefuls, the sources told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.

If the elections are postponed, they must be held no later than 14 days.

At least 22 other opposition hopefuls were still waiting for returning officers' verdicts on their applications.

In letters to the aspirants on Thursday, electoral officials cited the city's new national security law, and the pan-democrats' previous calls for foreign governments to sanction Beijing and Hong Kong as reasons for barring four incumbent lawmakers – Civic Party's Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Dennis Kwok and Kwok Ka-ki, as well as accountancy sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung.

Other opposition figures disqualified include activist Joshua Wong.

Following the disqualification of 12 hopefuls on Thursday, the government warned that more candidates might meet the same fate.

But an informed source told the SCMP newspaper said no more disqualifications would be announced on Friday.

"But returning offices are empowered to do so after the nomination period closes on Friday," the source added.