Citizens of Hong Kong largely avoided going to the polls on Sunday to renew their city legislature as part of a new process imposed by Beijing, which drastically reduced the number of seats eligible for universal suffrage. candidate’s right to loyal “patriots” in China.
The lowest rate
The turnout – 30% – is the lowest since Hong Kong’s rule passed from Britain to China in 1997, and is even lower since the first direct election of members of the legislature in 1991.
The final results are expected later today, Monday.
Hong Kong Barnabas Fung, head of the electoral process, said only 1,350,680 of the 4,472,863 registered voters cast ballots to elect the 20 members elected by universal suffrage from the 90-member Legislature (or LegCo). .
The remaining 70 members are elected by various committees made up of political elites affiliated with the Chinese regime.
In the previous elections, in 2016, the turnout was 58.3%. The council then had 70 members, half of whom were elected directly by the electorate.
Guarantees of “patriotism”
This year, to allow a candidate to claim a seat, each of the 153 candidates had to provide guarantees of “patriotism” and political allegiance to China.
Democracy activists have been barred from running or resigning by those who are not in prison or have not escaped abroad.
Many among those living in exile called for an election boycott.
Those who were excluded from the vote “are the traitors who would not act for the general good of Hong Kong,” said John Lee, the second-in-command of the government, on Sunday.
The turnout, an indicator of the integration of Hong Kong residents into the new electoral system, was eagerly awaited.
They were imposed by Beijing
Abstentions, abstentions and invalid ballots remain legal in Hong Kong. On the contrary, encouraging these practices is a criminal offense this year, for which 10 people were arrested.
The new rules were imposed by Beijing in the context of regaining control of Hong Kong after the mass demonstrations in favor of democracy in 2019.