26 Nov 2019

Hong Kong elections: Carrie Lam promises 'open mind' after election rout

5:30 am on 26 November 2019

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam has said the government will "seriously reflect" after local elections saw massive gains by pro-democracy candidates.

Carrie Lam casts her ballot in the local District Council elections in Hong Kong.

Carrie Lam casts her ballot in the local District Council elections in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP

Seventeen of the 18 district councils are now controlled by pro-democracy councillors, according to local media.

The election, the first since the wave of anti-Beijing protests began, saw an unprecedented turnout of more than 71 percent.

It is being seen as a stinging rebuke of Ms Lam's leadership and a show of support for the protest movement.

Hong Kong has seen months of increasingly violent protests since Ms Lam tried to introduce a controversial bill enabling extradition to China.

In a statement released online, Ms Lam said the government respected the results.

She said many felt the results reflected "people's dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society".

The government would "listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect," she said.

Some 2.94 million people voted in the election, compared with 1.4 million in 2015.

Pro-democracy candidates won close to 60 percent of the total vote yesterday, but achieved a landslide in terms of seats because of the first-past-the-post system, local media report.

Pro-democracy contenders were victorious in 347 of the 452 district council seats up for grabs; pro-Beijing candidates won 60 seats; while independents - many of them pro-democracy - got 45, according to the South China Morning Post.

In the last election four years ago, pro-Beijing councillors won 298 seats, but the distribution of these seats meant they took control of all 18 district councils.

They retained control of only the Islands District Council after Sunday's vote.


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