Over half a million Hongkongers have cast their ballot so far during the weekend’s primary election, according to co-organisers Power for Democracy. Citizens ignored government threats over the new security law and formed long queues to vote across the city, in spite of temperatures exceeding 33c and a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
500,002 people had voted by 6:30pm on Sunday, with polls set to close at 9pm. Results will be announced on Monday or Tuesday.
Voters have been selecting pro-democracy candidates to run in the official legislative election in September. Candidates were vying to secure seats in five geographical constituencies – Kowloon East, Kowloon West, Hong Kong Island, New Territories East and New Territories West – as well functional constituencies, including the “super” district councillors and health services sectors.
Organisers said they want to improve candidates’ chances of winning a majority in the legislature – a goal known as “35+” with some deeming the primaries the last “free election” in Hong Kong in anticipation of candidate disqualifications.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang claimed that participation in the primaries could violate the law due to organisers’ call for democrats to veto the annual government budget if they win a majority in the legislature.