Pro-Beijing Parties Trounce Democrats in Hong Kong Elections

Posted November 7th, 2011 at 3:00 am (UTC-5)
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Election officials in Hong Kong say pro-Beijing parties have dramatically out-polled their pro-democracy opponents in regional elections in the former British colony.

Officials announced preliminary results from the elections Monday, saying the pro-Beijing parties had taken 146 seats in the elections for 18 district councils. That compares to just 54 seats for the Democratic Party, which has spearheaded the drive for a faster move to full democracy in the autonomous Chinese region.

The councils have only limited power, but the elections were seen as a test of public sentiment ahead of voting for Hong Kong's legislature next year.

Officials said the turnout in Sunday's balloting was higher than anticipated and reflected growing public interest in the electoral system.

Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under a mini-constitution that guarantees it will maintain its own economic and political systems. Half the legislative seats are now filled through popular elections, with plans calling for universal suffrage to be gradually applied to the remaining seats over a period of years.