September 8, 2008

Pro-Democracy Lawmakers Keep Veto Power

Pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong's newly elected legislature retained strength to veto any government effort to alter the territory's constitution.

Results of the Sunday elections for the 60-seat Legislative Council showed pro-democracy supporters had won 23 of the seats, the BBC reported. That is more than the one-third strength needed for veto purposed on the Chinese-administered autonomous region.

Their victory, though two seats less than their current numbers in the legislature, came despite some predictions that Hong Kong's inflation and the huge success of the Olympic Games on the mainland might draw voters in the direction of the Beijing government.

Turnout was low among the middle-class and upper-middle-class voters who make up the pro-democrats' main support, The New York Times reported.

The current government led by Chief Executive Donald Tsang kept the support of a majority of the Legislature, the Times said.

The BBC report said Hong Kong's elections are seen as the most open anywhere in China.