Hong Kong, July 14: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called upon the autonomous government in Hong Kong as well as the Liaison Office of China's Communist Party (CPC) to allow the conduct of "free and fair" elections. His statement comes in the backdrop of a warning issued by Beijing to opposition parties which organised primaries over the weekend.

"Congratulations to Hong Kong's pan-democrats for a successful primary. The Legislative Council election in September should be equally free and fair," Pompeo said on Twitter, amid reports from Beijing which claimed that China is mulling over taking action under the new National Security Law. China Opens New Office For Security Agents to Operate in Hong Kong.

According to the Liaison Office - China's main executive arm based in Hong Kong - the holding of primaries was a violation of Section 22 of the security law. The Office primarily blamed Benny Tai, a pro-democracy leader who was instrumental in organising the primaries.

"The goal of the Benny Tai gang and the opposition camp is to seize power to govern Hong Kong, with a vain attempt to launch a Hong Kong version of a colour revolution," the office said.

Notably, primaries are a series of pre-election polling exercises in which the voters adhering to a particular ideology - here pro-democracy - vote to choose their candidate for the main elections.

The model is similar to the primaries held in the US and some other Western democracies where candidates vying for the party ticket are democratically chosen by voters adhering to the party's ideology.

Nearly 60,000 voters turned out to cast their mandate in the primaries, despite the incumbent pro-establishment Hong Kong government warning them of being prosecuted under the new security law.

The main polls in Hong Kong are slated for September. The final dates are yet to be declared. The elections are key to decide who holds on to the power in Legislature - considered as the final institution which can save the eroding autonomy of semi-autonomous island.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 14, 2020 11:27 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).