Counting underway after Hong Kong elections

 |Sep 5, 2016
A controversial bill which was blocked the the alliance would have seen a majority pro-Beijing committee pre-select the candidates running for the city's top chief executive position.
A controversial bill which was blocked the the alliance would have seen a majority pro-Beijing committee pre-select the candidates running for the city’s top chief executive position.

Counting is underway in Hong Kong’s legislative council elections Monday after record numbers of voters cast their ballots well past midnight.

A polling station at the private Taikoo Shing housing complex did not close until 2:30 am.

Some 90 per cent of around 2.2 million votes counted by 9:30 am (0130 GMT), the government said on the official electoral website Monday.

Initial results show that the pro-democracy alliance of political parties will retain veto power in the Legislative Council. The pro-Beijing contingent will continue to dominate the legislature, as they hold on to their seats in the functional constituency.

A controversial bill which was blocked the the alliance would have seen a majority pro-Beijing committee pre-select the candidates running for the city’s top chief executive position.

Sunday’s election was marred by accusations of fraud, an uncommon occurrence in the city.

Pro-Beijing supporters have been accused of offering financial incentives to potential supporters and bringing in busloads of former Hong Kong residents living in China to vote in the election.

Several voters have claimed their registrations had been tampered with by placing them in districts where they currently do not live.

Hong Kong’s electoral commission guidelines warn people in positions of power and influence, such as employers and teachers, against behaviour that breaches Hong Kong’s corruption laws. Using force, threats or duress to influence a person’s vote is illegal.

The Chief Executive in a statement Sunday night praised the conduct of the commission in ensuring fair elections.

Veteran lawmakers will be joined by a host of new younger faces, like that of newly formed political party Demosisto’s Nathan Law. The 23-year-old was a key figure in the 2014 Occupy movement which saw parts of downtown Hong Kong occupied for 79 days in protest of the controversial electoral reform bill.

A surprise winner in the traditionally conservative and pro-Beijing New Territories West was party unaffiliated social activist Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who won more than 70,000 votes.

Hong Kong has a legal and governance system separate to that of mainland China as part of a treaty that ceded the territory from Britain in 1997.

Hong Kong’s legislature operates within a partially democratic system. The public directly elects only half of the 70 lawmakers, who are known as the geographic constituency.

The other half is selected by members of professional associations, district councillors and trade groups and is known as the functional constituency.

The council has the power to enact, amend and repeal laws; endorse the appointment and removal of judges; and impeach the city’s top official, the chief executive.

Source: DPA

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