Hong Kong lawmakers reject Beijing poll plan

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The reform would have given Hong Kong citizens the right to vote for their chief executive for the first time in 2017

Legislators in Hong Kong have rejected a controversial Beijing-backed election reform package after a session of impassioned and fiery debate.

Pro-government lawmakers walked out of the council chamber moments before the vote was to take place.

The reforms would have given China the right to vet candidates in the election of the territory’s leader.

The divisive plan sparked mass protests with pro-democracy activists labelling it “fake democracy”.

After the pro-China legislators walked out of the chamber, the 37 lawmakers left voted and the motion was rejected with 28 opposing it and eight supporting it. It needed at least 47 votes to pass.

“This motion has not gained a two-thirds majority vote,” said Jasper Tsang, the president of the city’s Legislative Council. “I announce that the motion has been vetoed.”

The vote means the leader of Hong Kong will still be chosen by a 1,200 member committee

The package would have granted all Hong Kong citizens the right to vote for their chief executive for the first time in 2017 , but they would only be able to vote for candidates that had been vetted by a pro-Beijing committee.

Thursday’s vote means Hong Kong’s next chief executive will be selected, as before, by a 1,200-member committee, that is currently stacked with Beijing loyalists.

The bill’s defeat comes after what has been a tense year of political debate in the former British colony that was handed over to Beijing in 1997.

In September last year, activists began occupying major parts of the city and demanding universal suffrage. Protests paralysed the city centre after clashes between police and activists saw tear gas deployed.

After more than two months and with no concessions from Chief Executive CY Leung, the protest camps were ultimately dismantled by police.

 

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