Record low turnout for Hong Kongs first patriots only polls
Figures showed just 30 percent of the electorate cast ballots, the lowest rate both of the period since the city’s 1997 handover to China and the British colonial era.
It was the first legislature poll under a new political blueprint China imposed on Hong Kong in response to massive and often violent pro-democracy protests two years ago.
Beijing has responded with a sweeping national security law that criminalises much dissent and political reforms to remove anyone deemed unpatriotic.
But in the first public test of the new system, most Hong Kongers stayed away from polling stations, taking advantage of free public transport for the day to fill shopping malls, hiking trails and beaches instead.
Authorities recently made it illegal to organise or incite voting boycotts but many prominent democracy activists who have fled overseas issued such calls on social media.
Kenneth Chan, a political scientist at Hong Kong’s Baptist University, described Sunday’s turnout as “hugely embarrassing” for the government.
“Most pro-democracy voters decided to stay away, to express their disapproval of this kind of election by not turning up,” he told AFP.