Hong Kong election: Youth protest leaders win LegCo seats

Source: BBC

A new generation of pro-democracy activists has won seats on Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo).

The young leaders want greater autonomy and changes to the way Hong Kong is governed by China. Voter turnout reached a record high of 58%.

Among those elected is Nathan Law, 23, who helped lead the “Umbrella Protests” in 2014 for self-determination.

Despite the gains, China’s supporters will continue to hold the majority of seats on the 70-seat council.

Mr Law expressed shock at the result, saying it showed people “wanted change”.

What do the activists want?

The election is the first in the territory since the 2014 unrest, when central areas of Hong Kong were paralysed for weeks by mostly young protesters.

A protester raises umbrellas as tear gas is fired by riot police to disperse protesters outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong (28 September 2014)Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionIn 2014, thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong

They were demanding greater democracy for the territory amid concerns that Beijing was increasingly interfering in the politics of the former British colony, breaking the “one country, two systems” agreement.

Beijing denies this, and gave no concessions to the protesters.

“I think Hong Kongers really wanted change,” Mr Law, 23, was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. “Young people have a sense of urgency when it comes to the future.”

Mr Law, whose Demosisto party campaigns for the right to self-determination, had the second highest number of votes in the multi-seat Hong Kong Island constituency.

Electoral officers count ballots for the LegCO elections in Hong Kong (5 September 2016)Image copyrightAP
Image captionVote-counting was delayed by a record voter turnout

Two candidates from the Youngspiration party, a more vocally pro-independence movement which also has its roots in the Umbrella Protests, were also on course to be elected.

However, several veteran democrats failed to retain their seats.

“People want change, change meaning that they want new faces… but the price is a further fragmentation [of the pro-democracy camp],” defeated candidate Lee Cheuk-yan told Reuters.

Will these results change anything?

Mr Law warned that pro-democracy legislators would “have to be united to fight against the [Chinese] Communist Party”.

Read more

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.