Blow for HK democrats in polls
Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s democracy camp failed to claw back all their lost seats Monday in controversial byelections as the city’s proBeijing establishment further cements its grip.
The result is the latest blow to the democratic movement as China ups pressure on the semi-autonomous city to fall into line after unprecedented challenges including mass rallies calling for reform and the emergence of an independence movement.
Sunday’s vote was triggered after Beijing forced the disqualification of six rebel lawmakers who had swept to victory in citywide elections in 2016. Four of the six vacant seats were contested in the tense by-elections which saw China loyalists hurl insults at young democracy activists near a polling station.
After the count ended Monday morning the democracy camp had only managed to take back two of the four seats.
Analysts said the disappointing performance reflected the inability of the democrats to present an effective united platform to residents as well as apathy among voters -- turnout was less than 50 percent, lower than previous recent elections.
“This is a terribly depressing day for the democratic development of Hong Kong,” political analyst Willy Lam said.