Partial returns show that pro-democracy candidates won nearly half of the seats in Hong Kong's local elections as voters sent a clear signal of support for the anti-government protests that rocked the Chinese territory for more than five months, the AP reports. A record 71% of the city's 4.1 million registered voters cast ballots Sunday, well exceeding the 47% turnout in the same election four years ago, election officials said. So far, pro-democracy candidates have won 201 out of 452 seats in 18 district councils. Previously, the bloc had fewer than a third of the seats. Hong Kong's largest pro-Beijing political party suffered the biggest setback, with 155 of its 182 candidates defeated.
Among the losing incumbents was controversial lawmaker Junius Ho, who was stabbed with a knife while campaigning this month. The normally low-key race for the district councils, which are controlled by pro-establishment parties, took on new importance amid the protests. A strong showing by the opposition appears to signal that the public still supports the protesters, even as they resort to increasing violence.
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