People line up to vote in district council elections in South Horizons in Hong Kong on Sunday.
People line up to vote in district council elections in South Horizons in Hong Kong on Sunday.

Hong Kong: Voter turnout rate passes 2015 in local elections since protests began

ANI | Updated: Nov 24, 2019 16:10 IST

Hong Kong, Nov 24 (ANI): Hongkongers have been heading to the polls since Sunday morning in one of the most closely watched district council elections since the city returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
More than 720,000 people had cast their votes within three hours of polling stations opening for the district council elections, some having waited for more than an hour.
A record 4.1 million people are registered to vote and the turnout surpassed the 47 per cent figure of 2015 with 1.95 million people have already marked their ballot paper before 4 pm (local time), South China Morning Post reported.
Today's election is the first public poll in the semi-autonomous region is one of the most closely watched district council elections since mass protests broke out nearly five months ago due to a rife between the city people and the China-backed government over a controversial extradition bill.
The election of 452 district councillors, who oversee everyday neighbourhood affairs, carries more significance than in most years. The results will be seen as a barometer of support for the anti-government protest movement now roiling the city and could exert more pressure on embattled leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to find new ways to resolve the impasse.
After voting at Raimondi College on Robinson Road, Lam said many Hongkongers hoped the calmness in the city over the last few days could continue after the polls.
"In recent days we have seen society returning to peace. Many residents expressed that they value this calm, on social media or other platforms," she said after voting.
"I hope this stability over the last few days is not only for today's election, but I hope it means everyone does not want such chaos in Hong Kong, and we can leave these difficult times so that we can start afresh," Lam was quoted as saying.
More than 600 polling stations will remain open between 7.30 am and 10.30 pm (local time).
A team of independent observers, invited by a group of pro-democracy protestors, also paid a visit to the various polling stations in the city to monitor the elections.
Meanwhile, security has also been beefed up in the city to ensure utmost safety and non-violence during the elections.
The results of the local elections will have knock-on effects for the Legislative Council elections next year which draw candidates from among the successful district councillors. (ANI)

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