Pro-democracy group wins in Hong Kong elections, takes 201 of 241 seats


Hong Kong’s opposition pro-democracy movement took 201 of the first 241 seats declared, a major gain in the territory’s district council elections. Pro-Beijing candidates took just 28, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper.

More than 2.9m people voted, a turnout of more than 71 percent, against 47 percent in 2015.

The election was billed as a test of support for embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Hong Kong’s district councilors mainly deal with local issues such as bus routes and garbage collection – however, the polls were widely seen as a test of public opinion on the government’s handling of five months of unrest and pro-democracy protests.

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

A record 4.1 million people had registered to vote, or more than half the population of 7.4 million.

Some notable names ran in the elections, including pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho, one of the most controversial politicians in the city, who suffered a shock defeat. He was stabbed earlier this month by a man pretending to be a supporter.

Jimmy Sham, a political activist who has recently risen to prominence as the leader of the Civil Human Rights Front – a campaign group responsible for organising some of the mass protest marches – won a seat after running for the first time.

Mr Sham has also been attacked twice, once apparently with hammers. Photographs at the time showed him lying on the street covered in blood.

Standing on crutches, Mr Sham told Reuters news agency on Sunday that the election was “special because it is a formal confrontation between pro-establishment and pro-democracy parties”.

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred from running in the elections, a move he referred to as “political screening”, but the pro-democracy candidate who replaced him is said to have won.

Reflecting on her reported defeat, pro-Beijing lawmaker Alice Mak suggested Ms Lam’s administration was partly to blame.

“In the election campaign, pro-government candidates have been unfairly treated. This is a very important reason,” she said.

Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the city’s largest pro-Beijing party, was among the few establishment candidates to secure her seat.

More than 1,000 candidates ran for 452 district council seats which, for the first time, were all contested. A further 27 seats are allocated to representatives of rural districts.

Pro-Beijing parties held the majority of these seats ahead of the election. (Source: BBC)