Hong Kong’s democrats romped to a landslide and symbolic majority in district council elections after residents turned out in record numbers on Sunday to vote following around six months of anti-government protests in the embattled city.
Voting was peaceful amid tight security with hardly anyone seen wearing protesters’ trademark black clothing or face masks.
According to election officials, a record voting of 71% by 4.1 million people was registered. An increase by 47 percent was witnessed from the election four years ago.
So far, pro-democracy candidates have won 201 out of 452 seats in 18 district councils. Previously, the bloc had fewer than a third of the seats. Among the winners were former student leaders and a candidate who replaced prominent activist Joshua Wong.
However, Hong Kong’s largest pro-Beijing political party suffered the biggest setback, with at least 155 of its 182 candidates defeated.
The pro-democracy camp hailed its strong gains in the normally low-key race as a “victory” for the Hong Kong people. Candidates said the city’s embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam must heed protesters’ demands including free elections for the city’s leader and legislature and an independent probe into alleged police brutality.