Hong Kong votes in crucial legislative polls


Hong Kong voters went to the polls 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 7:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) and will continue until 10:30 pm 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.
The remainder are chosen by relatively small “functional constituencies” of electors grouped along economic and professional lines, including wealthy business leaders with strong financial ties to the mainland.