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Iran Press TV

Polls open in Hong Kong's key legislative elections

Iran Press TV

Sun Sep 4, 2016 5:12AM

Voters have started going to the polls in Hong Kong to choose lawmakers for the independent legislative body of the special administrative region of China.

The polls opened in the Legislative Council elections on Sunday morning and will close at 10:30 pm (0230 GMT).

Voters will directly choose 40 lawmakers for the 70-member body. The other 30 lawmakers for the region, which is home to multinational business firms, are from trade-based functional constituencies and are indirectly elected by different professional interest groups.

Vote counting will begin shortly after the polls are closed.

A survey by the University of Hong Kong showed that pro-Beijing lawmakers would gain the majority of the seats in the legislative body, which is tasked with establishing laws, overseeing budget, and supervising the local government's work.

Anti-Beijing candidates are also participating in the elections.

The vote is the most important political event since 2014, when anti-Beijing rallies and strikes by protesters demanding political reform were held in the semi-autonomous Hong Kong.

Currently, anti-establishment candidates belonging to the so-called localist or "pro-democracy" movements are demanding a chance to determine the future of Hong Kong by holding a referendum for independence from China.

On the eve of the elections, five candidates from the anti-Beijing camp dropped out of the political race in an effort to increase chances for their fellow candidates.

Hong Kong's legislative, executive and judiciary bodies are separate and independent from China, and Beijing only maintains authority in defense and foreign affairs.

The city, which has a population of around seven million people, was under British rule for over a century until Beijing regained sovereignty over the territory in 1997.

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