Hong Kong holds by-elections in test for democracy camp

Hong Kong held by-elections triggered by pro-democracy lawmakers seeking to pressure Beijing into speeding up the pace of electoral reform.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong on Sunday held by-elections
triggered by pro-democracy lawmakers seeking to pressure
Beijing into speeding up the pace of electoral reform in the
territory.

The election, which has angered Beijing and divided the
city`s democracy movement, comes after five lawmakers from the
Legislative Council quit in January in a bid to force a de
facto referendum on reform.

Frustrated by what they say is China`s intransigence, the
lawmakers had hoped that the move -- which will likely see
them all re-elected -- would send the strongest message yet to
Beijing since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

However, the outcome of the vote is seen as academic
since all pro-Beijing political parties have boycotted the
process.

Under the current electoral system, only half of Hong
Kong`s 60-seat legislature is directly elected while the rest
is selected by the pro-China business elite. Campaigners want
the entire parliament to be directly elected.

They also want voters to be able to choose the city`s
chief executive, who is currently appointed by a
Beijing-friendly election committee.

Beijing has said that, at the earliest, Hong Kong`s chief
executive can be directly elected by 2017 and the legislature
by 2020.

PTI

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