Hong Kong democrats cheer landslide triumph in local elections amid political crisis

Hong Kong democrats cheer landslide triumph in local elections amid political crisis

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s democrats romped to a landslide and symbolic bulk in district council elections after citizens ended up in record numbers on Sunday to vote following 6 months of anti-government protests in the embattled city.

Regional candidate Kelvin Lam commemorates with fans after it was announced he won the regional council elections in his district, at a ballot station in the South Horizons West district in Hong Kong, China November 25,2019 REUTERS/Thomas Peter

In an uncommon weekend lull in the discontent that has actually roiled the financial center, democratic prospects throughout the city of 7.4 million protected more than half of the 452 district council seats for the very first time, against a strongly resourced and set in motion pro-establishment opposition.

When the results started trickling in after midnight, consisting of upset wins for democrats versus heavyweight pro-Beijing opponents, some voting centers erupted in loud cheers and chants of “Free Hong Kong. Transformation Now,”– a slogan of many protesters on the streets over the previous half year.

Some winning candidates stated the outcome was similar to a vote of support for the demonstrators, and might raise the heat on Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing primary executive, Carrie Lam, in the middle of the city’s worst political crisis in years.

” This is the power of democracy. This is a democratic tsunami,” stated Tommy Cheung, a former student protest leader who won a seat in the Yuen Long district close to China’s border.

The voting ended with no major disruptions in a day that saw enormous, though organized queues form outdoors ballot centers.

As of 6: 00 a.m. (2200 GMT), pro-democracy prospects had actually protected a clear majority with more than 300 of 452 seats, compared to 41 seats for the pro-establishment camp, according to regional media quotes. Four years back at the previous such polls, democrats just secured around 100 seats.

Nearly 3 million people voted, a record turnout of more than 71%that appeared to have actually been spurred by the chaos, almost double the number last time.

Hong Kong’s district councils control some spending and decide a range of regional income issues such as transport. They also function as an essential grassroots platform to radiate political impact in the China-ruled city.

OFFICIAL FIGHT

Demonstrators are upset at what they see as Chinese meddling in the freedoms assured to the previous British nest when it went back to Chinese rule in1997 They state they are likewise reacting to viewed police brutality.

China rejects interfering and states it is devoted to the “one nation, 2 systems” formula for the autonomy of Hong Kong. Cops state they have revealed restraint in the face of potentially lethal attacks.

Jimmy Sham, a leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organized a few of the anti-government rallies, won his electoral contest, as did Lester Shum, a former student leader of the umbrella movement in 2014, and Kelvin Lam, who stood in after activist Joshua Wong was barred from running.

A variety of pro-Beijing heavyweights including Junius Ho, whose abrasive public comments have actually made him a hate-figure among lots of protesters, lost to pro-democracy oppositions. He explained it as “an exceptional election, and an unusual result” on Facebook.

The protests began over a now-withdrawn extradition expense that would have allowed people to be sent out to mainland China for trial however rapidly developed into require full democracy, posing the biggest populist challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in2012

Reporting by Clare Jim, Felix Tam and Josh Smith; Composing by James Pomfret; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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