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Lam: HK poll should mark return to peace

China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-26 08:45
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Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor casts her vote at Raimondi College, Hong Kong, on the morning of Nov 24, 2019. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Chief executive says SAR will listen to voters, but violence also needs to end

The counting of ballots in the Sixth-term District Council Ordinary Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was completed as of noon on Monday.

Polling for the election started at 7:30 am and concluded at 10:30 pm on Sunday. According to the HKSAR Electoral Affairs Commission, 452 seats in 18 electoral districts have all been decided.

With a record turnout rate of 71.2 percent, a total of about 2.94 million registered voters cast their ballots in the election on Sunday.

District councils are organizations at the district level that advise the HKSAR government on matters affecting the well-being of the residents and participate in the management of district affairs.

The district council election is the first poll held in the HKSAR after the now-withdrawn ordinance amendments concerning fugitives' transfers sparked unrest in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor voiced her hope on Monday that the people of Hong Kong will continue to express their views in a peaceful manner.

The district poll was conducted in very difficult circumstances due to incidents that have taken place over the past few months, Lam said.

She thanked the voters for their participation, through which, she said, they hoped to express their views.

She said she firmly believes that the vast majority of the public shares her wishes for peace and order after five months of unrest in the city.

In the five-plus months preceding the election, HKSAR officials said that rioters, in concert with external forces, have continuously committed and escalated acts of violence, resulting in social and political confrontation, rifts in social sentiment and setbacks for the city's economy and people's livelihoods.

While the months of social unrest created a troublesome backdrop, with some pro-establishment candidates being harassed, the day of the election proceeded smoothly, officials said.

The most pressing task now for Hong Kong remains bringing the violence and chaos to an end and to restore order, city officials said.

Listen to views

Lam said the city's government will listen to the views of the public humbly and seriously.

The government respects the election results, she added. Various analyses said the result reflected people's dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society, Lam said.

"The HKSAR government will listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect," Lam said.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular news conference that halting destruction and chaos is still the city's top priority. "The most pressing task in Hong Kong is to stop violence and restore order," he said.

The spokesman reaffirmed that the Chinese government is determined to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, implement the "one country, two systems" policy, and oppose any foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs.

Also on Monday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his visit to Japan that any attempt to disrupt and damage Hong Kong's stability and prosperity will be in vain.

China Daily - Xinhua

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