Almost in the “Too good to be true” category. I remain cautious, but optimistic. MH
Hong Kong (CNN)
Pro-democracy candidates appear to have made major gains in Hong Kong’s district council elections, as early results trickled in Monday morning, with multiple high-profile pro-government figures losing their seats.
More than 2.9 million people turned out to vote in Sunday’s elections, which have been framed as a de facto referendum on the almost six months of ongoing protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
With more than 95% of constituencies declared, pro-democracy candidates appeared to have won a landslide victory.
Speaking to CNN, Kenneth Chan, an expert on politics and governance at Hong Kong Baptist University, said the more than 70% turnout — higher than any other election in the city’s history — “exceeded many predictions” and demonstrated both Hong Kongers’ commitment to democracy and that they are “counting on this election to point a way out of this impasse.”Public broadcaster RTHK described the results as a “rout” and a “staggering victory for the pro-democracy camp,” with the majority of the 18 district councils expected to flip to pro-democratic control in an “unmistakable message” to the city’s leader Carrie Lam.
Opposition candidates took nearly 90% of the seats up for grabs, the broadcaster reported. After weeks of increasingly violent unrest, this weekend was remarkably calm, following calls for protesters to avoid giving the government any excuse to call off the elections or close polling stations early. In a statement Monday, the city’s leader Carrie Lam said her government “respects the election results.””There are various analyses and interpretations in the community in relation to the results, and quite a few are of the view that the results reflect people’s dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society,” she said. “(The government) will listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect.”