Hong Kong’s district council elections witnessed a record voter turnout rate on Sunday, pointing to locals’ increased interest in political affairs in the aftermath of the 2014 pro-democracy protests.
Interestingly, the elections also saw some veteran politicians being trounced by first-time candidates.
A total of about 1,468,000 registered voters cast their ballot, yielding a turnout rate of about 47 percent, according to the Registration and Electoral Office.
The turnout was the highest since the first post-handover district council election in 1999, as it surpassed the previous record set in 2003 when 44.1 percent voted in the wake of a controversial plan to enact new national security legislation.
In the last district council election in 2011, the voter turnout stood at 41.4 percent.
In some constituencies, the turnout rate in Sunday’s elections was as high as 60 percent, Apple Daily reported.
As the electoral office began to unveil the results at the nearly 400 polling stations at midnight Monday, some people who participated in the so-called umbrella movement and ran for district council members for the first time were pronounced elected.
They included Wong Chi-ken in Lok Wah North constituency of Kwun Tong, Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying in Tai Hang constituency of Wan Chai and Chui Chi-kin in Yue Wan constituency in Eastern District.
Chui defeated long-time councilor Christopher Chung Shu-kun from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).
The pan-democratic camp, which counted on the election to re-ignite people’s passion for democracy fight, had a mixed showing with regard to the performance of its candidates.
James To Kun-sun, who is a lawmaker of the Democratic Party, was reelected in his Kowloon West constituency, but two others lawmakers, Albert Ho Chun-Yan of the Democratic Party and Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party, both lost to their pro-establishment opponents in Lok Tsui constituency in Tun Mun and in South Horizons East, respectively.
Ho, who lost by a margin of 125 votes, said he believes that voters opted to support younger candidates.
The Democratic Party will encourage younger people to stand for district council elections in the future, he said.
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