Pro-democracy groups retained a one-third voting bloc in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council following an election marked as a record number of voter turnout, and the emergence of candidates calling for independence from China.
Official results show that pro-democracy candidates won 30 of the 70 seats, more than is required for the opposition to have veto power to block attempts by Hong Kong’s government to enact unpopular legislation.
The Hong Kong people clearly voiced their desire for a change through their votes. This year’s election exceeded the expectations of many political observers. At least five young candidates, each from different political organizations, were elected to the Legislative Council.
Nathan Law, a 23 year-old student leader during the 2014 umbrella moment, was one of the aspiring candidates seeking change in the status quo. The setback of the umbrella movement taught him to explore other avenues to voice his views. The election served as a good opportunity for him to meet his supporters and to bring their desire for independence from China to the political stage.
Hundreds of supporters of candidate Law took to the streets ahead of the election to express their support for his candancy. Their efforts paid off as many young people turned out to vote. The election results even surprised Law, as he received more than 50,000 votes, the second highest number of votes cast for a candidate. The results showed that the people in Hong Kong desire change and don’t trust the current governing body.
The election outcome revealed three distinctive outcomes:
- The Hong Kong people are actively involved in politics. A record breaking 2.2 million citizens cast their votes, composing 58 percent of the total electorate.
- The election proved that the pro-democratic camp captured the majority of votes when the “one man, one vote” policy is genuinely carried out.
- Many new faces who rose from the ranks of the umbrella movement were elected. The youngest among them was 23-year-old Nathan Law.
These young candidates had no political background, nor did they behave like political sycophants as those in totalitarian countries. They were elected because of their steadfast political beliefs and involvement in various social campaigns.
The victory in the 2016 election reflects the power of democracy and the will of the Hong Kong people.
Translated by Cecilia.
Edited by David Clapp.