Voting underway in Hong Kong by-election

Thousands of people in Hong Kong cast their votes on Sunday in a legislative by-election in which seven candidates are vying for a seat vacated by a prominent pro-democracy lawmaker.

More than 81,400 residents of Hong Kong’s New Territories East constituency voted in the first four hours of polling.

Voting began at 7.30 a.m. and will end at 10.30 p.m., EFE news reported.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong in June 2015 following the government’s failed attempt at electoral reform.

As people cast their ballots, the seven candidates in the race were making last-ditch efforts to win over voters with final campaign rallies.

Among those canvassing for last-minute votes was Edward Leung Tin-kei, a pro-Hong Kong independence candidate from the Hong Kong Indigenous Party who shot to prominence after being arrested early this month for his role in a riot that took place on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

The by-election is being widely viewed as a litmus test for voter attitudes in Hong Kong ahead of the citywide legislative elections in September.

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