Hong Kong votes one year after ′Umbrella Movement′ protests | News | DW | 22.11.2015
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Hong Kong votes one year after 'Umbrella Movement' protests

Over a year after pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong, the former British colony is set to vote in district level elections. Analysts say the results will indicate the city's appetite for democracy.

Hong Kong residents are set to vote Sunday in the first elections since pro-democracy protests erupted in 2014, with thousands - many of them students - demanding increased freedom to choose the city's next leader in 2017.

The protests, deemed the "Umbrella Movement," nearly brought the city to a halt as activists blocked highways and occupied central squares.

At least 431 seats in 18 district councils are up for grabs in the district council elections, with more than 900 candidates vying for the spots.

"It feels like once the 'Umbrella Movement' was over, we didn't know which way to go from there," said Steven Ng, who is running in the elections, reported Reuters news agency.

"I wanted to see if I had the ability to continue to push the democratic movement," the former leader added.

According to a poll by the University of Hong Kong, the district council elections are expected to set a higher turnout than 2011's 41.5 percent.

In June, Hong Kong's Legislative Council rejected proposed electoral reforms, in a move reportedly backed by mainland China.

Following British rule, Hong Kong was turned over to Beijing under a "one country, two systems" arrangement settled in 1997.

The agreement allowed Hong Kong to retain substantial autonomy, with the promise of eventual universal suffrage.

ls/jm/sgb (Reuters, AFP)