HONG KONG (AP) — Polls opened in Hong Kong Sunday for the specially administered Chinese city's most crucial election since the handover from Britain in 1997.
The vote for lawmakers in the Legislative Council is also the first since 2014 pro-democracy street protests rocked the Asian financial hub.
The election is set to test the unity of Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp as a new generation of radical activists, who emerged in the wake of those protests, joined the race. They're competing with moderate mainstream pro-democracy parties to challenge formidable pro-Beijing rivals.
At stake is the power to keep the city's widely unpopular Beijing-backed leader, Leung Chun-ying, and his government in check. The pro-democracy camp currently controls 27 of 70 seats, and must keep at least a third of the seats to retain veto power.
The risk is that the pro-democracy vote will be split, allowing pro-Beijing candidates to take more seats and clearing the way for the government to attempt to enact unpopular and controversial laws, which in turn could lead to a new round of political confrontations.
Some 3.8 million registered voters are choosing lawmakers to fill 35 seats in geographic constituencies. Another 30 seats are taken by represented members of business and trade from industries like accounting, finance and medicine. Five more "super seats" are chosen by voters citywide.