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Supporters of pro-democracy candidates celebrate after election results announced on Monday
Supporters of pro-democracy candidates celebrate after election results announced on Monday

Pro-democracy parties secure landslide victory in Hong Kong local elections

ANI | Updated: Nov 25, 2019 12:49 IST

Hong Kong, Nov 25 (ANI): Pro-democracy candidates secured major gains in Hong Kong's district council elections, as early results trickled in Monday morning, with multiple high-profile pro-government figures losing their seats.
More than 2.9 million people turned out to vote in Sunday's elections, which have been framed as a de facto referendum on the almost six months of ongoing protests in the semi-autonomous city. With more than 95 per cent of constituencies declared, pro-democracy candidates appeared to have won a landslide victory, CNN reported.
Kenneth Chan, an expert on politics and governance at Hong Kong Baptist University, said the more than 70 per cent turnout -- higher than any other election in the city's history -- "exceeded many predictions" and demonstrated both Hong Kongers' commitment to democracy and that they are "counting on this election to point a way out of this impasse."
Public broadcaster RTHK further described the results as a "rout" and a "staggering victory for the pro-democracy camp," with the majority of the 18 district councils expected to flip to pro-democratic control in an "unmistakable message" to the city's leader Carrie Lam.
Opposition candidates took nearly 90 per cent of the seats up for grabs, the local media reported.
After weeks of increasingly violent unrest, this weekend was remarkably calm, following calls for protesters to avoid giving the government an excuse to call off the elections or close polling stations early.
In a statement Monday, Lam stressed that her government "respects the election results."
She said, "There are various analyses and interpretations in the community in relation to the results, and quite a few are of the view that the results reflect people's dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society," adding, "(The government) will listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect."
District councils are elected on four-year terms and largely handle local affairs. They lack much in terms of real power, serving mainly to advise the government on issues affecting their neighbourhoods and the allocation of funds for local projects.
However, the results of Sunday's polls signalled wider discontent about the slow pace of political reform and mismanagement in the city.
They also predict a big loss for pro-government parties that could further increase pressure on Lam to come up with a political solution to address at least a few demands of the pro-democracy protestors, such as withdrawing the controversial extradition bill that kicked off the entire crisis; launch an independent inquiry into allegations of police brutality; retract any categorisation of a protest on June 12 as a "riot"; amnesty for arrested protesters; and introducing universal suffrage for how the Chief Executive and Legislative Council are elected.
However, China has time and again reiterated that irrespective of the election results Hong Kong will still remain a part of China. (ANI)