Pro-Beijing candidates on Monday won Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections, defeating the moderate and independent contenders in the city’s first public polls after the amendment of election laws, AP reported.
In March, Beijing had passed a “patriots governing Hong Kong” resolution that changed the composition of the Legislative Council – the city’s mini Parliament that makes and amends laws for the region, the BBC reported.
Beijing reduced the number of legislators who can be directly voted in by the people and ensured that all the candidates were examined for “patriotism” by a screening committee. It also gave seats to the Election Committee which is reportedly pro-Beijing. Only 20 of the 90 seats were directly elected by the citizens.
The change in the structure of the council was seen as China’s effort to control Hong Kong, following the 2019 pro-democracy protests. The protests had initially been organised to oppose a Bill that would have allowed extraditions to China. They have now evolved into a backlash against the city’s government and its political masters in Beijing.
On Sunday, when the voting took place, only 30.2% of Hong Kong’s 4.5 million registered voters took part in the elections, the lowest since 1997, AP reported.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Monday said she was satisfied with the results. “For registered voters, deciding whether they want to exercise their voting rights in a particular election is entirely a matter for themselves,” she said.
Following the election results, China in a report said that it had “restored order” and brought “democracy back on track” in Hong Kong, according to Reuters. The report also blamed anti-China forces and “foreign enemies” for causing turmoil in Hong Kong.