Hong Kong democratic opposition fails to regain veto power in legislature

  • Hong Kong democratic opposition fails to regain veto power in legislature

Hong Kong democratic opposition fails to regain veto power in legislature

Scuffles outside an Aberdeen polling station on Sunday marked the start of a by-election in Hong Kong that could prove to be a crucial test for the city's pro-democracy movement.

The by-election is to fill 4 of the seats vacated by court disqualification of 6 anti-Beijing lawmakers elected in 2016.

"The pan-democrats have paid a huge price due to the recent political storms these few years", said Au Nok-hin, one of the democrat winners.

"The question of the disqualifications remained as a topic throughout the campaign, but our victory in Kowloon West has shown that. the public think the government was right to strip those LegCo members of their seats", Wong said.

Starry Lee, the leader of the city's largest pro-Beijing party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), said: "The breakthrough in this by-election is a shot of confidence for our supporters and for people who hope Hong Kong can move forward and stop wasting energy with in-fighting".

Moderate pro-establishment candidate Tony Tse Wai-chuen beat pan-democrat Paul Zimmerman by grabbing 55.5 per cent of votes to take the fourth seat on offer, in the trade-based architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency.

The pro-democracy camp aims to win back all the 4 seats it lost.

A third pro-democracy candidate, Gary Fan (范國威), won his constituency.

As a effect, opposition lawmakers will not be able to block their rivals' future bids to further tighten the legislature's rule book against filibustering, a regular tactic used by the pan-democrats.

Over the past two decades, however, tensions have simmered and occasionally boiled over with activists pushing in vain for full democracy amidst opposition from Beijing.

During a visit to the city last July, Xi warned Beijing wouldn't tolerate any challenge to its authority. "It is with a heavy heart that I say this: it gave an opportunity to the.pro-establishment faction to take a seat that should have belonged to the pan-democrats in LegCo".

Lawmaker Charles Mok, also convenor of the pan-democrats, shared similar worries while cautioning against over-interpretation of their defeat in one constituency. "We believe there are many interrelated factors and it is too early to jump to a simple conclusion at this stage".

Voter turnout in the semiautonomous region was 43 percent.

The four newly elected lawmakers are expected to take their oath of office on Wednesday next week.

Voters in Hong Kong cast their ballots on Sunday to choose 4 candidates from the15 in the running. Each term of office of the legislative council is four years, except for the first term when it was set to be two years.

Chow had meant to stand for the seat vacated after the disqualification of Nathan Law, a fellow member of their Demosisto party who became Hong Kong's youngest-ever lawmaker.