Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp loses ground

Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp loses ground

Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp loses ground

The vote came as China's National People's Congress voted to abolish constitutional term limits, leaving democracy supporters in Hong Kong more anxious about diminishing autonomy under the potentially indefinite rule of Xi Jinping. "The democracy camp has faced huge suppressions due to the political turmoil over these years". Two remaining empty seats are to be decided later because they are the subject of ongoing legal action. The by-election filled four vacancies in membership of the LegCo, including three geographical constituencies vacancies in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West and New Territories East; and one vacancy for the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency.

Pan-democratic candidate Paul Zimmerman also lost to pro-establishment candidate Tony Tse in a constituency representing architects, surveyors and related professionals. He was enlisted at the last moment after officials disqualified the pro-democracy camp's marquee candidate, 21-year-old Agnes Chow, because she advocated for Hong Kongers to determine their own future.

As a outcome, opposition lawmakers will not be able to block their rivals' future bids to further tighten the legislature's rule book against filibustering, a regular tactic used by the pan-democrats.

The vote came on that same day that the Chinese NPC in Beijing voted to remove presidential term limits.

Over the past two decades, however, tensions have simmered and occasionally boiled over with activists pushing in vain for full democracy amidst opposition from Beijing. The electoral watchdog's ruling that Demosisto's calls for "self-determination" for Hong Kong violated the city's mini-constitution sparked a political storm in January.

Political observers also noted that pro-establishment lawmakers could take advantage of their election advances to bulldoze controversial policies or laws through Legco.

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"Losing in an election is, of course, not a good thing", he said. Many viewed the Hong Kong by-elections a test of the city's voters' willpower to continue defying Beijing. "You have to show how you can improve the voters' livelihoods and address their concerns about such issues", she said.

A turnout of 43 percent, far less than the 58 percent for full legislative council polls two years ago, suggested votes could have become tired with the democrats' struggle.

Voters in Hong Kong cast their ballots on Sunday to choose 4 candidates from the15 in the running.

Former pro-government legislator Wong Kwok-hing, who is supporting the voter, said several complaints had been filed to the Registration and Electoral Office and the Electoral Affairs Commission in the past two weeks, questioning the authorities' decision to allow Au to run.

Chow had meant to stand for the seat vacated after the disqualification of Nathan Law, a fellow member of their Demosisto party who became Hong Kong's youngest-ever lawmaker.

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