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Hong Kong sees mixed results in first district election since 'umbrella protests'

In Hong Kong's first vote since mass pro-democracy street protests, the city's democracy movement has won at least four seats in district elections. The poll could provide an insight into the 2017 leadership election.

Despite the small success for Hong Kong's so-called "Umbrella soldiers" in Sunday's election, the balance of power in the semi-autonomous district remains largely the same.

Analysts of the vote believe, however, that the results reflect the continued support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement. Around 900 candidates competed for Hong Kong's 431 seats across 18 district councils.

Record turnout

"It's a total surprise. I feel the Umbrella Movement definitely woke up many people who never cared about the district council and politics to give their first vote," Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying, who won against a pro-Beijing candidate, told local news channel TVB.

"We will prove we're serious," added Kwong Po-yin, 29, of new pro-democracy group Youngspiration, who also won.

Sunday's election also saw a record 47 percent of more than 1.4 million people turn out. Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Leung Chun-ying said the turnout suggests that "people are paying more attention to their voting right."

Pro-democracy rallies

Mass protests broke out in September last year as thousands of citizens, many of them students, took to the streets after Beijing insisted that candidates for the planned first public vote for Hong Kong's leader in 2017 would have to be vetted by a loyalist committee.

Following British rule, Hong Kong was turned over to Beijing under a "one country, two systems" arrangement settled in 1997, but there are growing fears that China's influence is increasing.

ksb/kms (Reuters, AFP)

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