HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on elections in Hong Kong (all times local):
Voters have turned out in force for Hong Kong’s crucial Legislative Council election.
Turnout appeared to be higher than average, with long lines of people still waiting to cast ballots at some polling stations by the time voting was supposed to end Sunday night. Some 52.6 percent of nearly 3.8 million registered voters had turned out an hour before polls closed, matching the total turnout for the previous election four years ago. Turnout in the 2008 election was 45.2 percent, according to the government’s website.
The vote for Legislative Council is seen as Hong Kong’s most important election since the handover from Britain in 1997, and will test the unity of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp.
Radical activist Avery Ng was restrained by police after he threw a sandwich at Hong Kong’s widely unpopular Beijing-backed leader, Leung Chun-ying.
The incident happened before Leung voted, and he avoided being hit by the tuna sandwich.
Ng, chairman of the League of Social Democrats, a radical pro-democracy party, earlier told reporters outside the polling station where Leung voted that he believed that the 2014 democracy street protests had awakened civil liberties “so hopefully today we can have a high voter turnout and use our votes to yell our discontent toward CY Leung.”
12: 25 p.m.
Three hours after polls opened in Hong Kong’s legislative elections, 7.12 percent of registered voters have turned out.
According to government statistics, that’s little below 7.48 percent in 2012 but over 5.66 percent in 2008 legislative elections.
The vote for Legislative Council lawmakers is the first major election since 2014 pro-democracy street protests rocked the Asian financial hub, and the outcome could pave the way for a fresh round of political confrontations over Beijing’s control of the city.
Hong Kong’s government says about 3.7 percent of 3.8 million registered voters turned out two hours after the polls opened.
The city’s widely unpopular Beijing-backed leader, Leung Chun-ying, cast his ballot earlier Sunday and urged the public to turn out and vote.
At stake is the power to keep Leung and his government in check.
Pro-democracy lawmakers currently control 27 of 70 seats in the Legislative Council, compared with 43 held by lawmakers friendly to Beijing. The democrats are fighting to keep control of at least a third of the seats, which gives them veto power to block government attempts to enact unpopular legislation, such as Beijing’s controversial election revamp that triggered the 2014 street protests.
Voting is underway in Hong Kong’s legislative election, the first since 2014 pro-democracy street protests rocked the Asian financial hub.
At stake is the power to keep the city’s pro-Beijing leader and his government in check.
The pro-democracy camp currently controls 27 of 70 seats, and must keep at least a third of the seats to retain veto power.
The election is set to test the unity of the pro-democracy camp as a new generation of radical activists who emerged after the protests compete with moderate mainstream parties to challenge formidable pro-Beijing rivals.