Ahead of the District Council election, Hong Kong officials cautioned that the vote might be postponed after some candidates came under assault and the town had been paralyzed because protesters blocked streets and riot cops laid siege into a college. Authorities are dispatching at least 2 officers clad in riot gear to every polling booth, all which can be set to close at 10:30 p.m. Outcomes are anticipated in the early morning hours Monday.
The election comes at a period of political polarization in town, with branches hardening since the protests become more violent.
“It is sort of a referendum on the government and all that has happened over the previous five months,” explained Chi-Jia Tschang, that worked in Goldman Sachs for almost a decade and is currently a senior manager in the Hong Kong office of BowerGroupAsia, which advises businesses on business and political threat in the area. “People still need to have a chance to work inside the machine to get their voices heard. That is why there’s so much attention on this”
The district council is the cheapest rung of authorities in town and councilors have several actual forces, largely advising the chief executive to issues such as fixing up parks and coordinating community actions. Its elections have generally been plagued with low voter turnout and are not hugely aggressive, compared with people for the Hong Kong’s stronger Legislative Council.
But they are being carefully watched this season since the first democratic practice since the protests started in June. Enthusiasm is high in pro-democracy forces, that are optimistic they could pressure Carrie Lam’s government to become more threatening.
District councilors help reconstruct 117 of those 1,200 electors who choose the main executive, which might provide pro-democracy forces more option over applicants that should nevertheless still be accepted by Beijing.
The councilors will also be directly elected by the general public, which makes it a more democratic process about the competition for its Legislative Council, which includes booked seats for members of their financial hub’s business community.
With the probability of violence present, the authorities said Friday that opening hours for polling stations are extended when voting could be resumed within 90 minutes of any sudden disruption. Otherwise, then voting will be frozen until Dec. 1.
It climbed to 80 percent from only 40 percent a year ago — well ahead of the unrest started — based on polls from the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute.
Lam’s fame, meanwhile, has dropped to record highs as calm marches five months past were dismissed and demonstrators started cooperating with police since the protest movement morphed into a broader pushback against Beijing’s grip.
“People now see you could take items to the roads, but in a really large price — and there’s a limit to a person’s energy,” explained Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy lawmaker from the town’s Legislative Council. “You want changes from inside this system.”