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Hong Kong Democrats Retain Veto Bloc in Legislative Elections


Hong Kong's pro-democracy parties have lost less ground than expected to pro-establishment parties backed by Beijing in Sunday's legislative poll.

Reports early Monday indicate that some pro-democracy incumbents lost their seats, but anti-establishment candidates won at least 23 seats overall - 19 in geographic constituencies, four in functional constituencies.

The results allow pro-democracy parties to retain the power to veto legislation seen as too favorable to China's central government.

Earlier, a senior opposition leader, Democratic Party Vice Chairman Sin Chung-kai predicted that the pro-democracy side might retain only 19 or 20 seats in the 60-member legislature.

Political analysts said a low voter turnout and infighting could have hurt anti-establishment candidates. Government figures show that about 45 percent of registered voters cast their ballots, compared to a record turnout of nearly 56 percent four years ago.

Currently, only half of Hong Kong's 60-member Legislative Council is directed elected by voters, with the rest chosen by special interest groups.

The Chinese government in Beijing agreed last year that Hong Kong could elect its own leader in 2017 and possibly all of its legislators in 2020.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.