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Hong Kong votes in crucial legislative polls

Published on Sep 9, 2012 3:23 PM
 
A man reads information about candidates on election day for the Legislative Council outside a polling station in Hong Kong on Sept 9, 2012. Hong Kong residents voted for a new legislature on Sunday, a day after the territory's Beijing-backed leader backed down on a plan to introduce a compulsory Chinese school curriculum after tens of thousands of people took to the streets. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong voters went to the polls on Sunday in legislative elections seen as a crucial test for the Beijing-backed government, as calls for full democracy grow and disenchantment with Chinese rule surges.

Nearly 3.5 million people are eligible to cast ballots in the poll, which comes after weeks of protests against a plan to introduce Chinese patriotism classes into schools forced the government into a last-minute climbdown.

Voting began at 7.30am and will continue until 10.30pm with results not expected until Monday. The new legislature could pave the way for universal suffrage in 2017 for the job of chief executive and by 2020 for the parliament.

Forty of the 70 seats - expanded from 60 in the outgoing assembly - will be directly elected, the first time that more than half of the seats in the Asian financial centre have been decided by popular vote.

 
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