Pro-Beijing candidates sweep away victories at the polls in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) – Pro-Beijing candidates dominated Hong Kong’s parliamentary elections, defeating moderates and independents in the city’s first public ballot after Beijing passed a resolution to amend the city’s election laws .

Candidates loyal to Beijing won the majority of seats in Sunday’s election after laws were changed to ensure that only pro-Beijing “patriots” could rule the city.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam told a press conference on Monday that she was “happy” with the election despite a turnout of 30.2%, the lowest since the British surrendered Hong Kong to China in 1997.

She said the number of registered voters reached 92.5%, a record compared to the 2012 and 2016 elections, when around 70% of voters registered.

“For registered voters, deciding whether they want to exercise their right to vote in a particular election is a matter of themselves,” she said.

“In this election, 1.35 million voters voted. They didn’t just send whatever candidates they wanted to LegCo, and I think it was also because of their support for improving the electoral system, ”Lam said, referring to the city’s Legislative Council.

Under the new laws, the number of directly elected legislators has increased from 35 to 20, even as the legislature has grown from 70 to 90 seats. Most lawmakers have been appointed by largely pro-Beijing bodies, ensuring they constitute the majority of the legislature.

All the candidates were also reviewed by a largely pro-Beijing committee before they could be nominated.

Lam said that even though there was a high turnout based on “bad politics,” such as political polarization during the time of political turmoil in 2019, it is “not something we should be happy about. ‘to have “.

The opposition camp criticized the elections, as the largest pro-democracy party, the Democratic Party, failed to field a candidate for the first time since the 1997 transfer.

Lam said she expects working with the 90 lawmakers to continue to be “very exciting” because they have different opinions on many social issues.

Lam is expected to travel to Beijing later Monday as part of a reporting trip, which she says should give Beijing a full account of the latest political and economic situation in Hong Kong.

“I expect to cover a wide range of issues on this particular service visit because thanks to two very decisive acts by central authorities, Hong Kong is now back on track ‘of one country, two systems'” , she said.

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