The silent majority has spoken . . .
On Sunday, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy candidates, or pan-democracy camp, secured 390 of the 452 seats in the district council elections and gained control over 17 of the 18 district councils. With a historic voter turnout of 2.94 million, the pro-establishment side lost 240 seats secured in the last election, according to Stand News. Although the district councils primarily focus on municipal affairs, such as public facilities and community activities, this local election is widely seen as a de facto referendum on the anti-government protest that began in June. The pan-democracy camp is a political alignment in Hong Kong that supports increased democracy – namely the universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council as given by the Basic Law under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework. The pro-establishment parties, meanwhile, are generally supportive of the Hong Kong government as well as Beijing’s policies towards Hong Kong.
China’s response . . .
On Election Day, Chinese state-run media network CGTN urged voters to “end the social chaos and violence in Hong Kong with their own hands, and restore the social order.” Regardless of the weekend’s election outcome, the Chinese government seems highly determined to quell the protests. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told reporters at the G20 Summit that “no matter what happens, Hong Kong is part of China and a special administrative region of China . . . any attempt to mess up Hong Kong, or even damage its prosperity and stability, will not succeed.” Neither Xinhua nor CCTV, the two main Chinese state media, reported on the pan-democrats’ victory.
Implications for Carrie Lam, pro-establishment parties . . .
Even though the mandates of district councillors are primarily focused on municipal affairs, they do also represent their constituents in the Election Committee, which elects the Chief Executive. However, their influence will be limited: the district council constitutes only 117 votes within the 1,200-member Election Committee. Nevertheless, with their current momentum, the pan-democrats could pose a significant challenge to pro-establishment parties in the upcoming, higher-level Legislative Council election in 2020.
- Stand News: District Council Election Results
- NBC News: China issues stern response to landslide victory of Hong Kong pro-democracy forces
- Hong Kong Government: 2016 Election Committee Subsector Elections