Hong Kong’s legislative elections are to be postponed again to this December to allow for Beijing’s electoral changes to be rolled out, Legislative Council (LegCo) President Andrew Leung told the press on Tuesday.

The news came hours after Beijing unanimously approved sweeping changes to the city’s election system. Hailed as an “improvement” by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the overhaul will reduce democratic representation and introduce a committee to approve candidates.

Andrew Leung. File Photo: LegCo.

“Because the government has said it will submit an amendment bill to the LegCo in April, I have decided to add additional LegCo sessions in mid April for the first reading, so the bills committee can do its work at full speed,” Leung said. “The sixth Legislative Council will extend until the end of the year. During this time – apart from processing relevant bills and amendments – there are many other economic, social, and budgeting items that need to be debated and voted on,” Leung said.

Since Beijing has decided to increase the number of legislators Leung said additional seats will be added to the chamber by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the secretariat will work on making 15 more offices for the additional LegCo representatives.

See also: Beijing unanimously approves Hong Kong election overhaul, reducing democratic representation

Last July, Lam announced that the 2020 legislative race would be delayed by a year owing to a resurgence in untraceable coronavirus cases. At the time, democrats were in the lead following their district council landslide win months earlier. Lam, however, denied there were political considerations.

A government banner promoting the electoral overhaul, photographed outside the MacPherson Playground in Mong Kok. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Lam is set to meet the press at 4pm. The Democratic Party will meet the press at 5:30pm.

Additional reporting: Selina Cheng.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.