Hong Kong pro-democracy activists are jubilant. The island’s pro-democracy candidates won almost 90% of the 45 district council seats in Sunday, Nov. 24, election in a historic landslide victory.
The pro-democracy opposition took over at least 396 of the 452 district council seats. The figures, at the time of writing, indicated that 88% of the local district council seats flipped from pro-Beijing to pro-democracy candidates.
Sunday’s win would enable the opposition to gain unprecedented control of 17 out of 18 district council seats, said Democratic Party Chairman Wu Chiwai, who has been a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong for Kowloon East constituency since 2012
Voter attendance was the highest since 1999 when Hong Kong started having district council elections. A record 71% of Hong Kong’s 4.1 million registered voters participated in the city’s only fully democratic elections, compared to a 47% turnout in 2015 election.
One voter tweeted, “We did it—voter turnout has broken the 70% target, settling at 71.2% when polls closed at 2230. Almost 3 million come out to vote. Whichever way this goes, Hongkongers have shown how strongly they feel about political issues and how highly they value representative government.”
We did it—voter turnout has broken the 70% target, settling at 71.2% when polls closed at 2230. Almost 3 million come out to vote. Whichever way this goes, Hongkongers have shown how strongly they feel about political issues and how highly they value representative government. pic.twitter.com/YOPiaIYZMw
— Ryan Ho Kilpatrick 何松濤 (@rhokilpatrick) November 24, 2019
It was also the first time that every seat had candidates from at least two opposing parties. Sixty-eight candidates were unopposed during the 2015 election.
Demosisto Secretary General Joshua Wong tweeted that the people of Hong Kong reacted “showing what’s DEMOCRACY IN ACTION.”
Almost 3 million people voted. The opposition is winning 388 seats vs. 59 for the gov’t (w/ a few more counting). Every way you look at it, this is historic. As our city plummets from being semi-autonomous to semi-authoritarian, we react by showing what’s DEMOCRACY IN ACTION.
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) November 25, 2019
The election tally dealt a blow to Beijing and clearly indicated that the Hong Kong people reject pro-Beijing, pro-establishment contenders, and specifically the island’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s administration.
“We are only vehicles used to reflect the people’s concerns,” said Wu.
Lam, on Monday, Nov. 25, acknowledged the election results showed public “dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society.”
The Hong Kong government “will listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect” on the election outcomes, said Lam.
Many believed that Sunday’s election results would have far-reaching implications.
“It’s nothing short of a revolution,” said Willy Lam, a political expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“It’s a sound repudiation of the Carrie Lam administration and shows the silent majority are behind the demands of the protesters,” Willy Lam stated.
Some analysts think that Sunday’s election outcomes could coerce Beijing to address the demands of the pro-democracy protesters or to reconsider the way they had responded to the six-month pro-democracy protests.
Or perhaps pressure Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam to resign. However, all these remain to be seen.
The sweeping victory could signal more friction with China’s Communist Party (the CCP), according to some China experts.
“This is political annihilation for Beijing,” said Asia analyst and foreign affairs journalist Gordon Chang during a Fox news interview on Sunday.
“It’s going to have consequences that are going to reverberate not just in Hong Kong itself, but perhaps in China as well,” said Chang, who believed that if the CCP refused to address the pro-democracy demands the unrest might intensify.
“Carrie Lam … reports directly to Xi Jinping. She no longer has any freedom of action,” said Chang.
“If he [Xi] tells her not to give ground, which is what he’s been doing for the last several months, then you’re going to see Hong Kong erupt because, you know, people have expressed their will,” Chang said.
“If the political establishment doesn’t make concessions, then we don’t know where this will go,” Chang continued.
“But we know that will become probably much more violent and the protests will become even larger,” warned Chang.
Chinese authorities showed no signs that it might soften its position on the former British colony that was returned to China in 1997.
The CCP remained unyielding, refused to acknowledge the election results, and blamed foreign powers for encouraging the unrest in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong would always be part of China, no matter the election outcome, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters during his visit to Tokyo.
“Any attempts to destroy Hong Kong or harm Hong Kong’s stability and development cannot possibly succeed,” Wang said.