News / Asia

Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Camp Takes Narrow Lead in Election

Electoral officers count ballots at the central ballot counting station after legislative elections in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.Electoral officers count ballots at the central ballot counting station after legislative elections in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
x
Electoral officers count ballots at the central ballot counting station after legislative elections in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
Electoral officers count ballots at the central ballot counting station after legislative elections in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement has taken a narrow lead in a legislative council election that represents a major test for the autonomous Chinese territory's new pro-Beijing government. 
 
Official results released early Monday show pro-democracy candidates won 18 of the 35 legislative seats directly elected by voters in Hong Kong's geographical constituencies. Sixteen of the remaining seats went to pro-Beijing and pro-business candidates allied to Hong Kong's government, and one went to an independent.

Turnout in the geographic constituencies was 53 percent, or 1.8 million voters, up sharply from 45 percent in the last election in 2008.
 
Re-elected pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan described the results as "very disappointing." Pro-democracy candidates competed for seats in multiple party lists that reflected divisions within the movement, resulting in a splitting of pro-democracy votes that helped pro-establishment candidates to win.
 
Speaking to a local radio station Monday, Lee said the pro-democracy movement saw an improvement in its total share of the vote. But, he said the pro-establishment movement had a more effective strategy to attract voters to its various party lists and "distribute" votes among its candidates.
 
Analysts had expected a strong showing for the pro-democracy camp after it led a series of mass protests against the government of Leung Chun-ying, who took office in July. The protests drew on public anger toward Leung's handling of several issues, including a government proposal to require schools to teach Chinese patriotism classes within the next few years.
 
Many protesters criticized the classes as an attempt to brainwash children into supporting China's ruling Communist Party - an allegation the government denied. Leung backed down on Saturday, a day before the election, saying the patriotism classes would no longer be compulsory for local schools.
 
The strong showing by pro-establishment lawmakers in the partial election results may ease some of the pressure on Leung. He also has faced growing public discontent with an influx of mainland Chinese residents and visitors who have put strains on Hong Kong's hospitals and driven up property prices.
 
Under a new system introduced for Sunday's election, all Hong Kong voters were able to cast a second ballot to fill the other half of the legislature's 70 seats. Vote counting was still under way early Monday for those seats, known as "functional constituencies."
 
The vast majority of voters cast their second ballots to fill five legislative seats in a single, territory-wide constituency. A small minority of voters belonging to community and professional groups cast their second ballots to fill the legislature's remaining 30 seats. Most candidates representing those groups tend to be pro-government.
 
Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 under an agreement making it a semi-autonomous territory with much broader rights and freedoms than in mainland China. Beijing also has promised to allow Hong Kong to become a full democracy, with residents directly-electing their leader in 2017 and all of their lawmakers in 2020.
 
But, pro-democracy lawmakers fear Beijing will pressure Hong Kong into adopting a 2017 election system that excludes chief executive candidates deemed anti-Communist or unpatriotic by Chinese leaders.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid