In a stunning rebuke to Beijing, voters in Hong Kong elected pro-democracy parties into power on Sunday. Every one of the 452 elected seats on Hong Kong's district council was up for grabs.
Before Sunday's election, pro-Beijing parties held three-quarters of the district council seats, but pro-democracy groups have so far managed to capture 240 of them, up from the 124 they held previously. The pro-Beijing camp has so far only managed to win 28 confirmed seats in Sunday's elections.
Stand News reports as of 4am that the pro-democracy camp has won at least 240 confirmed District Council seats - over half of the 452 total elected seats - compared with the pro-Beijing camp's 28 confirmed seats. pic.twitter.com/EPeuUCvvSa— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) November 24, 2019
The district council races are local, community-related offices. But given the widespread unrest by protestors calling for greater democracy for Hong Kong, the election is seen as a referendum on Hong Kong's relationship with Beijing.
As the election was underway, protestors remained trapped inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University after police sieged upon the campus following demonstrations against the shooting of a protestor.
A small number of people remain trapped inside PolyU - besieged into its ninth day - amid the pro-democracy camp's massive gains in the District Council elections.— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) November 24, 2019
Photo: Stand News. pic.twitter.com/tVR5z6ylhU
The newly-elected pro-democracy parties have already sprung into action, with one official calling upon the "newcomers to join him in signing a petition calling on police to end the siege..."
Newly-elected pro-democracy district councillor Jimmy Sham - of Lek Yuen, Shatin - has called on other newcomers to join him in signing a petition calling on the police to end the siege of PolyU and allow those trapped inside to leave peacefully.— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) November 24, 2019
Photo: May James / HKFP. pic.twitter.com/4vrEuUpMjN
A record 71.2 percent of the electorate, nearly three million residents, turned out to vote in Sunday's elections. The previous record was set in 2015 when 47 percent of voters showed up to the polls.
More than 2.94 million people voted in the District Council Election and the turnout rate was about 71.2 percent, said Barnabas Fung, chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region #HongKong pic.twitter.com/YQATo84Z8s— China News ????? (@Echinanews) November 24, 2019
Hong Kong voters lined up around the block for local elections after months of protests. pic.twitter.com/5m1t9i871r— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) November 24, 2019