The 2019 Hong Kong District Council elections were held on 24 November 2019 for all 18 District Councils of Hong Kong, the sixth such election being held since the 1997 handover. 452 seats from all directly elected constituencies were contested out of the 479 seats in total. Nearly three million voted, equivalent to 71 per cent of registered voters, which was a record turnout in the electoral history of Hong Kong. The pro-democracy camp achieved its biggest landslide victory in the history of Hong Kong.
As the District Councils are the only governmental body chosen by full universal suffrage, the election was widely described as a proxy referendum over the protest movement’s demands. 2.94 million out of 4.13 million registered voters have turned out to vote, including many first-time voters, representing a record turnout of over 71 per cent. The turnout was significant and some voters waited in line for more than an hour to cast their votes.
The pro-democrats achieved their biggest landslide victory in Hong Kong’s history, taking control of 17 of the 18 District Councils of Hong Kong, tripling their number of seats from about 124 to around 388, and have also managed to capture 117 seats in the District Council subsectors of the Election Committee, which is vested with the power to elect the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. The pro-democracy camp’s upset victory has also discredited the government’s often-used argument that it had the support of a silent majority of voters on the ongoing anti-government protests.
Parties belonging to the pro-Beijing camp and independents won only 62 seats in the District Councils, a loss of a total of 242 seats. The main pro-Beijing party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) received its largest defeat in history, losing nearly a hundred seats, while Regina Ip’s New People’s Party was completely removed from power, losing all of their representation in the District Councils. While DAB chairwoman Starry Lee narrowly managed to fend off her main pro-democratic challenger Leung Kwok-hung, her nine fellow pro-Beijing legislators and heavyweights such as Junius Ho, Horace Cheung, Michael Tien, Holden Chow, Lau Kwok-fan, Luk Chung-hung and Alice Mak suffered catastrophic defeats in their constituencies.
Many pro-democratic candidates who actively participated in the protests also scored victories. Jimmy Sham, the convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front which organised June’s million-strong peaceful marches, who was later attacked by thugs and hospitalised, won a seat in Lek Yuen. Democratic Party’s Andrew Chiu who had his ear bitten off was re-elected in Tai Kook Shing West, while Jocelyn Chau, 23, who was not only hospitalised after being assaulted and also arrested on the campaign trail, defeated the long-time pro-Beijing incumbent Hui Ching-on in City Garden. The “airport uncle” Richard Chan, who tried to calm police during August’s airport occupation and was pepper sprayed in the face by riot police in 2 November election rally and arrested while campaigning, won his seat in Lam Tsuen Valley in Tai Po.
Other prominent pro-democracy activists, including Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, a former student leader who was among nine Occupy activists convicted for public nuisance for his part in the 2014 protests earlier this year, defeated incumbent Wilson Wong Wai-shun who was seen in the 21 July Yuen Long attack with the attackers in Yuen Lung. Another former student leader Lester Shum, a key figure in the 2014 Occupy protests, won in Hoi Bun in Tsuen Wan. Kelvin Lam, Joshua Wong’s last-minute substitute after he was barred from running, won the seat of South Horizons West.
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