Economy

Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Opposition Loses Ground in Election

Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Opposition Loses Ground in Election

"The pan-democrats have paid a huge price due to the recent political storms these few years", said Au Nok-hin, one of the democrat winners. The other two vacancies are temporarily left to be filled as the two disqualified members were appealing against the ruling.

"This election is not just a normal election; it is a battle between the pro-Beijing camp and the pro-democracy camp", Chow said, adding that it was an important choice for the people of Hong Kong between "rule of law or rule by the Communist Party". "I take full responsibility for this result". "I lack experience in direct elections and did not plan my campaigns well enough".

After more than a century of British colonial rule, Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula guaranteeing it a high degree of autonomy and the promise of eventual universal suffrage.

Tse Wai-chuen, Cheng Wing-shun and two other candidates were elected to the sixth LegCo.

The vote pits pro-Beijing loyalists against opposition candidates competing for four seats in the city's semi-democratic legislature.

But pan-democrat candidate Gary Fan said he thought popular anger was a factor in his victory in New Territories East.

As a outcome, opposition lawmakers will not be able to block their rivals' future bids to further tighten the legislature's rule book against filibustering, a regular tactic used by the pan-democrats. But tensions have increased in the past two decades, periodically seeing activists pushing in vain for independence from Beijing.

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During a visit to the city last July, Xi warned Beijing wouldn't tolerate any challenge to its authority.

The Hong Kong Island constituency seat was vacated by Law, a former student leader of the 2014 Occupy Central pro-democracy movement and member of the Demosisto party, which espouses "self-determination" for Hong Kong.

Political observers also noted that pro-establishment lawmakers could take advantage of their election advances to bulldoze controversial policies or laws through Legco.

Lawmaker Charles Mok, also convenor of the pan-democrats, shared similar worries while cautioning against over-interpretation of their defeat in one constituency. Many viewed the Hong Kong by-elections a test of the city's voters' willpower to continue defying Beijing.

A turnout of 43 percent, far less than the 58 percent for full legislative council polls two years ago, suggested votes could have become tired with the democrats' struggle.

The four newly elected lawmakers are expected to take their oath of office on Wednesday next week.

Hong Kong residents voted Sunday in by-elections that give opposition supporters the chance to recapture lost ground in a contest measuring voters' appetite for democracy in the semiautonomous Chinese city. Each term of office of the legislative council is four years, except for the first term when it was set to be two years.


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