Pro-opposition candidate wins seat on Hong Kong Election Committee

Beijing, Sep 20 (EFE).- One of two candidates aligned with the Hong Kong pro-democracy opposition won a seat in the city’s Electoral Committee, comprising 1,500 members, state broadcaster RTHK reported Monday.

It said candidate Tik Chi-yuen won the seat Sunday after being tied in votes with two other applicants when only two places remained to be assigned, with the three then contesting a lottery and Tik, 63, taking one of the available spots.

“At least there is some space left for us,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if there are one or two of us. It is worth participating as long as we can represent the intimate thoughts of some Hong Kongers and their opinions.”

“Turnout has been unexpectedly high, but the traditional logic that high turnout could benefit Democrats doesn’t apply this time,” said Tik, a former member of the Democratic Party who now leads the centrist Third Way party.

Almost 90 percent of the 4,889 Hong Kongers called to polls participated.

All candidates had to overcome a veto process in August, one of the requirements under the controversial electoral reform that Beijing promoted in March that, according to pro-democratic sectors, seeks to make it difficult for the Hong Kong opposition to access power.

This same law meant the expansion of the Electoral Committee from 1,200 to 1,500 seats, of which 364 were elected Sunday by restricted suffrage, since the rest were allocated by direct appointment or votes in which there was no opposition.

The Electoral Committee votes for candidates previously sanctioned by the Chinese government to the head of the local government, nominating candidates for the Legislative Council (the local parliament). It also selects members to occupy 40 of 90 seats, of which Hong Kongers will be able to elect 20 through direct suffrage.

Elections to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, in which the reformed Electoral Committee will have a great influence, are scheduled for Dec. 19, while those for head of government are set for Mar. 27.

Several pro-democratic voices said the new legislation China approved in March is another step in the reduction of freedoms and rights in Hong Kong following anti-government protests that took place in mid-2019.

According to the Sino-British Declaration of 1984, Beijing vowed to maintain the rights and freedoms prevailing in the territory for at least 50 years since the territory was returned to China in 1997. EFE


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