09/08/2008, 00.00
HONG KONG
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Elections: the democrats hold on, the liberals lose out

Defeat of the democrats had been feared, instead representatives of the business world lost out. The pro-government, pro-China party holds on. Scarce turn out: only 45% of the electorate cast their ballots.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/ Agencies) – The pro-democracy group has won over a third of parliament seats, while liberals – representatives from the world of commerce – have been overwhelmingly defeated.

The final results of the ballot give 23 seats out of 60 to the pro-democracy group which is proposing a social policies, universal suffrage, the setting in place of real autonomy for Hong Kong from China.  Out of 60 parliament seats (the Legislative Council), only 30 are assigned by direct voting; the other 30 are chosen by government to represent cooperate interests in the territory.

On the eve of the vote it seemed as if the democrats were set to loose many of their seats: the increase of nationalism in China and Hong Kong in the aftermath of the Olympics; China’s harsh decision to not allow full democracy before 2017 rendered the democratic groups battle powerless. Instead they succeeded in holding on to 23 seats, sufficient to give them veto power on constitutional issues and political developments.

The leaders of the Liberals, James Tien and Selina Chow suffered a heavy loss.  The former has already resigned as head of the party; the latter has declared she will make her decision by day’s end.

The DAB, (Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong), a pro-government, pro-China party holds the majority.

The most concerning factor of these elections is the low turn-out.  Only 45% of the electorate cast their ballots.  Many attribute the general disinterest to China’s strong influence on Hong Kong’s political process, which renders its democracy far from complete.

 

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