Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp was headed for a thumping victory in district council elections, local media reported on Monday, a vote widely seen as a referendum on the Beijing-backed government’s handling of months of violent political unrest.
Counting was still under way following record turnout in Sunday’s ballot, but early tallies suggested that candidates favouring calls for greater democracy were set to grab far more of the 452 seats contested than originally expected, media reports said.
The selection of councillors — handling community-level concerns such as bus routes and garbage collection — traditionally generates little excitement, but pro-democracy forces hope a victory would raise pressure on the government to heed demands for change.
Hong Kong has endured months of mass rallies and violent clashes pitting police against protesters agitating for direct popular elections and a probe into alleged security force brutality against demonstrators, among other demands. . .
Hong Kong’s election watchdog said about 71 percent of the 4.13 million citizens registered to vote had cast their ballots, far higher than the 47 percent who voted in the previous go-round in 2015, which was a record at the time. (Read more from “Hong Kong Democracy Camp Heads for Stunning Win at Polls” HERE)