Democrats post gains in Hong Kong polls


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Hong Kong voters turned out in record numbers to defeat the territory's top pro-Beijing party, RFA's Cantonese service reports. The opposition Democratic Party took 92 District Council seats in the Nov. 23 polls, compared with 86 seats four years ago.

The polls saw a record 44 percent voter turnout, with 1.06 million out of 2.4 eligible voters casting ballots. Seventy-nine percent of 120 pro-democracy candidates were elected, while less than one-third of 206 pro-Beijing candidates won their races.

Tsang Yok-sing, chairman of pro-Beijing party Democratic Alliance, resigned after the election.

Democracy Party chairman Yang Shum said, "The result told us that rights have to go back to people. This is the only way to make 'one country, two systems' and 'autonomy' work."

The result was widely viewed as the result of a backlash against unpopular Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. It also raises the stakes for legislative elections next year, when pro-democracy politicians hope to take control the legislature.

The DAB has maintained close ties to Tung since he became chief executive of Hong Kong after it returned from British to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. Tung's popularity took a nosedive when he sought to pass an anti-subversion bill that many Hong Kongers viewed as a threat to civil liberties.

A half million people marched in opposition on July 1, setting off a political crisis that ultimately forced Tung to shelve the bill.


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