Young 'Anti-Beijing' Activists Gain Power in HK LegCo Elections

Young 'Anti-Beijing' Activists Gain Power in HK LegCo Elections
Photo Credit: Tyrone Siu / REUTERS / 達志影像
What you need to know

Preliminary results show pro-democracy candidates have won 19 of the 35 directly elected legislative seats. Nathan Law has become the youngest legislator in Hong Kong history.

Despite a delay of several hours, the preliminary results of Hong Kong’s first major elections since the pro-democracy protests in 2014 have been announced, with pro-democracy activist Nathan Law (羅冠聰) elected on Hong Kong Island as the youngest legislator in the city’s history.

Preliminary results show pro-democracy candidates have won 19 of the 35 directly elected legislative seats, with pro-Beijing parties securing 16 members. Three of the 19 pro-democratic seats have gone to localists.

Results have yet to be officially confirmed.

The delay has been attributed to the record-breaking turnout of about 58 percent of Hong Kong’s 3.8 million registered voters, and to the fact that “some people were unable to vote until nearly four hours after the polls had officially closed,” the BBC reports.

Votes are currently being recounted at certain polling stations in the New Territories districts due to the number of votes not matching the number of voters.

Law, along with Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), are leaders of the newly formed pro-democracy party Demosistō. Both were found guilty in July for their roles in a 2014 protest in the lead-up to the Umbrella Movement, and were sentenced 120 hours and 80 hours of community service respectively on Aug. 15, making it possible for Law to run in the elections.

In a recent interview with The News Lens International, Law said, “The reason why I decided to participate in the election is if you want to sustain your political influence joining the [Legislative] Council is one of the optimum options. […] If you are pushing a political movement for years, you have to [extend] your influence and political force.”

Thirty five seats out of Hong Kong’s 70-member Legislative Council were directly elected, with 30 other chosen by people connected to certain business and professional groups who account for only 6 percent of the population, earning Hong Kong the title of partial democracy. The remaining five “super seats” are chosen by voters across Hong Kong.

The three main groups that competed in the elections were pro-Beijing parties, pan-democrats (traditional pro-democracy parties), and localists.

Edited by J. Michael Cole