Polls close in first elections post electoral system changes in Hong Kong

Voters queue up outside a polling station during district council local elections in Hong Kong, China November 24, 2019. REUTERS/Marko Djurica - RC2CHD97CAIP

Hong Kong: In the first elections since modifications were made to Hong Kong’s electoral system earlier this year, the polls were closed for subsector ordinary elections.
Starting at 9:00 am, voters cast their ballots at five ordinary polling stations and one dedicated polling station across Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) government. An electronic poll register system was used for the first time at the polling stations to ensure more efficient and accurate issuance of ballot papers, reported CGTN. After the polls closed at 6:00 pm on Sunday, the ballot boxes were delivered to the Convention and Exhibition Centre for a vote count, under the observance of candidates, election agents and counting agents at the central counting station’s designated area.
Meanwhile, HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Sunday morning that the elections, the first after the electoral system improvements and the implementation of the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong,” would bring new development to Hong Kong, reported CGTN.
The elections will lay a sound foundation for the upcoming elections for the Legislative Council (LegCo) and the Chief Executive, she added.
On March 11, a decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR was adopted by an overwhelming majority vote at the fourth session of the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature.
The EC has been expanded to 1,500 members across five sectors and is now responsible for nominating candidates for the chief executive and LegCo members as well as for electing the chief executive and some of the LegCo members.
Out of the EC’s 1,500 seats, 325 people have been determined to be validly registered as ex-officio members, 156 people validly nominated to be members of the EC and 603 candidates uncontested, leaving 412 candidates to contest for 364 seats in 13 subsectors.
Critics have raised questions that the current ruling system imposed by Beijing has no place for democracy.

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