Rigged polls: over 40% say they will not vote in elections

Many citizens of the former British colony do not want to legitimize Beijing’s "patriotic" electoral reform. The weapon of the white card. The abstention front could grow with new arrests of pro-democracy activists and the disqualification of anti-government candidates.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - 42% of the electorate do not plan to vote in the parliamentary elections on December 19. This is the result of a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute, published today by the independent newspaper Apple Daily.

According to the editors of the survey, the scenario of high abstention is due to the distrust of those who support democracy towards the city electoral system, which is considered "rigged". Many residents do not want to vote to avoid legitimizing the reform wanted by Beijing, which the city parliament (Legco) approved on May 27

The Chinese government hopes the new voting mechanism will favour “patriotic” candidates loyal to the Chinese Communist Party and penalize direct suffrage, which usually rewards the democratic camp.

Only 40% of those interviewed say they are ready to show up for polls. Among them, 53% of those supporting Democratic candidates said they wanted to vote blank ballot or cancel the vote. With the electoral reform it is a crime to "encourage" others to boycott the election or to vote with a blank ballot: anyone who violates this requirement risks up to three years in prison.

For Chung Kim-wah, deputy director of the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute, the abstention front could widen further, especially if the authorities continue to crack down and arrest democracy activists, and other democratic candidates are excluded from running for election.