Hong Kong Holds First ‘Patriots’ Only Election

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Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Hong Kong Holds First ‘Patriots’ Only Election” – below is their description.

Voting in Hong Kong for an Election Committee that will choose the city’s leader took place with a heavy police presence. The Election Committee will select the Hong Kong leader in March, and is also responsible for electing 40 out of 90 lawmakers in the city’s legislature.

It took officials over 10 hours to tally some 4,380 ballots after polls closed, leading many to question the hold-up. The number of eligible voters to pick the committee that will next year select the city’s leader was slashed to 7,900 from more than 240,000 in 2016.

Only 364 of the 1,500 seats were contested, and just one opposition-friendly candidate, Tik Chi-yuen, won a seat on the committee.

Beijing’s top agencies overseeing Hong Kong on Monday both congratulated the city. China’s cabinet-level Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said the poll showed a “new atmosphere and new hope of Hong Kong’s transition from chaos to governance.”

“The elections were conducted with full respect of the principle of patriots administering Hong Kong, demonstrated the progressiveness and superiority of the revamped electoral system, and represented a major step forward in advancing democracy with Hong Kong characteristics,” the Liaison Office said in a statement.

Officials touted a 90% turnout at polling booths, and city leader Carrie Lam said the committee’s new structure “widely represented” society, despite just 0.1% of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million residents being eligible to vote.

In May, Hong Kong’s legislature passed amendments to its electoral laws to ensure that only “patriots” – people who are loyal to China and the semi-autonomous territory – will rule the city.

The new rules also expanded the Elections Committee to 1,500 from a previous 1,200, and reduced the number of direct voters for seats in the committee from about 246,000 to less than 8,000 this year.

The electoral reforms have been structured in a way that a vast majority of the Elections Committee will be made up of largely pro-Beijing candidates, who are likely to elect someone aligned with the ruling Chinese Communist Party as the city’s leader, as well as nearly half of the legislature.

Four activists from the pro-democracy political party League of Social Democrats staged a small protest near the polling station in the neighborhood of Wan Chai.

They laid out banners criticizing the “small circle election” and the pretense of representing public opinion.

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