Pro-democracy Parties sweep Hong Kong Polls

Hong Kong’s opposition pro-democracy movement has made unprecedented gains in the Chinese territory’s district council elections.

Early results show that 17 of the 18 councils are now controlled by pro-democracy councillors, BBC writes.

Despite fears the vote could be disrupted or cancelled over the unrest, it went ahead peacefully. It was the first weekend in months without any clashes between protesters and police.

The election was seen as a test of support for the government after months of unrest, protests and clashes.

One controversial pro-Beijing lawmaker, who lost his seat, Junius Ho, said “heaven and earth have been turned upside down”.

Hong Kong’s district councillors have little political power and mainly deal with local issues such as bus routes and rubbish collection, so the district elections don’t normally generate such interest.

But these polls were the first time people could express at the ballot box their opinion on embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s handling of the crisis, which was sparked by a now withdrawn extradition law.

Also, 117 of the district councillors will also sit on the 1,200-member committee that votes for the chief executive, so a pro-democracy district win could translate eventually to a bigger share in who becomes the city’s next leader.

A record 4.1 million people had registered to vote – more than half the population – and more than 2.9m people cast votes.

That’s a turnout of more than 71%, against 47% in 2015.

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