Friday 6 December 2019

Hong Kong's voters give Lam bloody nose in local elections

Upbeat: Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam speaks to the media after voting
Upbeat: Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam speaks to the media after voting

Nicole Smith

Hong Kong voters turned out in record numbers yesterday for district elections, with early results showing pro-democracy candidates triumphing over those who have sided with Beijing in the six-month-long protests.

The election is widely viewed as a test of public support for pro-Beijing chief executive Carrie Lam's handling of the protests that plunged the Asian financial hub into crisis.

Results started to trickle in after midnight and showed at least a dozen pro-democracy wins, including former student leaders. Among them is a candidate who replaced Joshua Wong, the activist who was the only person to be barred from running in the election. Jimmy Sham, who was bloodied in a hammer attack last month, also triumphed.

Junius Ho, a pro-­Beijing politician stabbed while campaigning this month, was among those who lost.

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The poll for delegates on the lowest tier of government - which has never had so much attention - is seen as a barometer of the six months of protests that at times crippled the city businesses and transport.

A record 4.1 million people registered to vote in the election, which normally records a turnout rate of about 40pc.

By 8am, long queues had already formed at polling stations, while government data showed nearly three million people had voted - a turnout rate of 70pc. About 1.47 million voted in the last district elections four years ago, which was itself a record.

In the bitterly divided city, many said they would vote based on their views of the political turmoil.

Although district councils deal with some mundane issues, they have a say in the selection of the city's chief executive, who is not directly elected by the public.

If the pro-democracy camp gains control, it could secure six seats in the parliament. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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