Pro-democrats get crucial edge in Hong Kong vote

Pro-democrats get crucial edge in Hong Kong vote

HONG KONG - The Associated Press
Pro-democrats get crucial edge in Hong Kong vote

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (C) opens a ballot box after polls. AFP photo

Election results released yesterday gave an edge to the pro-China faction in Hong Kong’s government, where power is split between those aligned with Beijing and those who favor further democratic reforms. The pro-democratic parties, however, will retain enough of a majority to veto any proposed changes to the former British colony’s constitution.

In the election, 40 of the 70 seats on the Hong Kong Legislative Council were decided by voters, and those were split fairly evenly between the two sides. Pro-democratic candidates won 21 seats, 18 seats in local districts and three more so-called “super seats” open to nearly all voters city wide. Pro-Beijing rivals won 19 seats, 17 local seats and two super seats.

Veto power

But another 30 seats on the council were chosen by members of business and special interest groups known as “functional constituencies,” most of which are dominated by pro-Beijing figures. Results showed that pro-democracy candidates won only six of those seats, news reports said. Still, pro-democracy candidates will retain 27 of the 70 seats, more than the minimum 24 need for veto power on constitutional issues, the most contentious of which is the eventual introduction of full democracy. Beijing has pledged to allow Hong Kong residents to choose their leader by 2017 and all lawmakers by 2020, although no roadmap has yet been laid out. The newly elected lawmakers will help set up those elections.Yet disappointed supporters blamed a splintering of the many parties that comprise the pro-democracy camp for the lack of a strategy against their pro-Beijing rivals, who had more resources to use Hong Kong’s complex electoral system to their advantage.

Albert Ho, chairman of the main Democratic Party, apologized and resigned.