- Hong Kong on Friday announced that it is postponing the city’s next legislative elections for a year, and has raised concerns about the coronavirus.
- The move represents another major blow to the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, drawing disturbing parallels to President Donald Trump’s recent efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election in the United States.
- Trump on Thursday suggested that Election Day be delayed on false demands on postal voting.
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In the latest blow to the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, the city government on Friday announced that the legislative elections scheduled for September will be postponed for a year.
Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, mentioned concerns about the coronavirus pandemic when she announced the move.
“It’s a really tough decision to delay, but we want to ensure equity, public safety and public health,” Lam said, according to the New York Times.
The announcement came about a month after Beijing passed a controversial new law on national security in Hong Kong, which essentially criminalizes dissent, and just a day later twelve pro-democracy candidates were disqualified from running in the election. The government considered that candidates are not in a position to work for the post based on a range of arbitrary factors, including opposition to the new national security law.
Eddie Chu, a pro-democracy lawmaker working for Hong Kong again, on Twitter said the Chinese-led communist party is “making a strategic withdrawal”; to avoid a “potentially devastating defeat” of candidates. pro-Beijing in the elections.
The White House on Friday ruled Hong Kong’s decision to postpone its legislative elections as anti-democratic, just a day after President Donald Trump suggested the United States should delay the US election. 2020.
“Delay the Election until people can vote properly, safely and securely ???” Trump tweeted on Thursday, in parallel not going to this week’s developments in Hong Kong.
AAaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 31, 2020
Trump, borrowed from China’s authoritarian playbook, mentioned the feigned concerns about voting by email when he suggested that Election Day be pushed back. Democrats have long advocated for greater access to postal voting on concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in crowded polling stations.
The president, who is running with former Vice President Joe Biden in the polls, has repeatedly said the postal vote leads to widespread voter fraud. But there is virtually no evidence to support Trump, as voter fraud is extremely rare in the United States.
Trump has no legal authority to delay the election, but the fact that he has also suggested postponing Election Day raises serious questions about whether the president will accept the results if he loses. If Trump rejects the result of the November 3 elections, it could cause a constitutional crisis.
With his re-election campaign in turmoil and the approval rating in the channel, it’s clear that Trump feels his best bet is to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
The president is therefore trying to cast doubt on the integrity of America’s electoral process among voters in the event of a loss. In doing so, Trump is reflecting the tactics of dictators such as Chinese President Xi Jinping, who saw the limits of the presidential term abolished in China two years ago in a move that effectively made him president for life.
As it happens, Trump in 2018 praised Xi for consolidating power and raised the idea that the United States should abolish the presidential caps, which are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
“He’s president for life. President for life. And he’s great,” Trump told Xi in a private speech to Republican donors at the time, according to a recording obtained by CNN. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday.”