HONG KONG, SEPT. 13. Pro-democracy Opposition figures gained more clout in Hong Kong's legislature with three new seats, but fell short of expectations and resumed grumbling on Monday about a system they call unfairly rigged.
Although the Opposition remains stuck mainly with the power to criticise, it gained a loud new voice with the stunning election win by Hong Kong's top protester, ``Longhair'' Leung Kwok-hung, who is known for burning flags and raising a ruckus in his trademark Che Guevara T-shirt.
Several hours after Mr. Leung had been declared a winner he launched his latest demonstration, chanting slogans outside Government offices on Monday afternoon.
Mainstream pro-democracy figures did not perform as well as forecast and Hong Kong's top pro-Beijing party had a surprisingly strong showing. The Opposition camp won 25 of the territory's 60 seats, up from 22 in the current legislature.
The outcome likely was a relief for China, whose leaders had worried that Hong Kong's Government, led by the unpopular Chief Executive, Tung Chee-hwa, might find itself paralysed if the Opposition had somehow won a majority, but the result was nowhere close to that.
``Beijing will think the election results are quite positive,'' said Ma Ngok, a political scientist at the University of Science and Technology.
Critics quickly took aim at problems such as polling stations that ran short of ballot boxes on Sunday, prompting some people to give up without voting, and the Hong Kong electoral system that gives special interest groups the right to pick 30 of the territory's 60 lawmakers.
Analysts had predicted the pro-democracy camp could claim 25-28 seats.
Opposition figures won 18 of the 30 seats that are directly chosen by ordinary voters, and just seven of the 30 seats picked by special interest groups, such as business leaders, that tend to back Beijing.
A record 1.78 million people cast ballots — for a record 55 per cent turnout. — AP
A grain of wheat eclipsed the sun of Adam !!
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