Sources told public broadcaster RTHK today that the local government is studying the possibility of postponing the Legislative Council (Legco) election for a year, with little hope that the COVID-19 outbreak will be brought under control by September.
The latest development came ahead of the end of the nomination period on Friday.
The Legco election is slated for 6 September.
There are reports that the chief executive could invoke emergency powers introduced during British rule to “make any regulations whatsoever which he [or she] may consider desirable in the public interest” in case of “emergency or public danger”.
Some pro-establishment figures, among them National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee member Tam Yiu-chung, have called for a delay in the vote in recent days, citing the novel coronavirus outbreak.
But the opposition camp – riding on its victory in last November’s district council elections – is against the idea.
Executive Council (Exco) member Ronny Tong Ka-wah said the local government could ask the NPC Standing Committee to extend the current Legco term from four years – as stipulated in the Basic Law – until the next election is completed.
Legco has 70 members – 35 directly elected by universal suffrage and the remained indirectly elected by universal suffrage.