Pro-democracy parties scored stunning gains in the Hong Kong district council elections Sunday, sweeping aside pro-Beijing parties in a significant endorsement of the protest movement and an indictment of the political establishment seen as responsible for months of unrest in the city.
Voters took to the polls in record numbers to cast ballots in the only fully democratic election in the Chinese territory, an early sign that they wanted to send a strong message to their government and to the Communist Party in Beijing.
Early results compiled by the South China Morning Post showed pro-democracy parties winning 278 of the first 344 seats to be declared, pro-Beijing parties taking 42, and independents 24. Many prominent figures in the protest movement won, and many leading pro-establishment figures were unseated. Pro-democrats look to be able to secure 12 of 18 district councils available in Hong Kong — before this vote, they did not have a majority in any.
Pro-democracy parties had comfortably surpassed the number of seats they won in 2015 and were on course for their strongest showing ever in district council elections. They also appear to have secured all 117 seats afforded to them on the 1,200-member election committee that votes for Hong Kong’s leader — a system designed to give an upper hand in the process to pro-Beijing groups and business interests.
The pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), the largest party in the district councils, had won just 26 races and lost 156. The pro-democracy Democratic Party, in contrast, had won 54 and lost only two.
The turnout — 2.94 million, or more than 71 percent of the 4.13 million eligible voters — was more than double the 1.4 million who voted in local elections in 2015. Voter registration was also a record high, driven in part by 390,000 first-time voters.
Courtesy: The Washington Post