Hong Kongers on Sunday thronged to polling stations to cast ballots amid ongoing demonstrations which started in June with people protesting the local government and China.
The local elections, held once every four years, are the only “fully democratic” polls held under the autonomous region of China.
Over 4.1 million registered voters in Hong Kong are going to elect district councilors in the local elections, with residents already having shown great interest in the polls.
The voting process started at 07.30 a.m. on Sunday (2330GMT Saturday) and will continue until 10.30 p.m. (1430GMT). Some protestors view the ballot as a great opportunity to change the political climate in the city.
In just four hours into the election, about a million voters have already cast ballots — three times that in the 2015 polls where some 340,000 voted in the same period.
A total of 1,104 candidates are competing for 452 municipal council seats in 18 election districts.
If elected, the candidates will be part of a committee with 1,200 members; this committee has the right to elect lawmakers, cabinet members and the government leader out of a candidate list provided by Beijing.
“If this election is fair, then it will lead to a change; if not, then protests will continue and we will go in a different direction,” Kevin Tsue told Anadolu Agency after voting at at polling station in Kawloon Park.
Hong Kong, an autonomous region under China since 1998, has been witnessing protests since early June against the Carrie Lam administration’s move to legalize extradition to mainland China.
The government has already dumped the bill, but protests continue, as the protesters are demanding prosecution of Hong Kong police for violence.