Hong Kong's opposition pro-democracy movement has won a majority in 17 out of 18 district councils, all of which were previously under pro-establishment control, local media reported Monday.
Initial results suggested that by 9 a.m. local time, pro-democracy candidates had won more than 278 seats, according to The South China Morning Post.
A total of 1,104 candidates are competing for 452 municipal council seats in 18 election districts.
Hong Kong residents have shown great interest in the local elections to elect district councilors as protestors view the ballot as a great opportunity to change the political climate in the autonomous region.
At a news conference, Barnabus Fung, chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, said more than 2.94 million registered voters cast ballots in Sunday's district council elections. The total turnout rate was more than 71% of 4.1 million registered voters.
The voting process started at 7.30 a.m. local time Sunday (2330GMT Saturday) and ended at 10.30 p.m. (1430GMT) amid ongoing protests that started in June in response to a move by the current administration to legalize extraditions to China.
The elections will determine the district councilors, who will have the right to elect the government and lawmakers on behalf of citizens in elections slated for 2020.
The local elections, held once every four years, are the only "fully democratic” polls held under the autonomous region of China.
If elected, the candidates will be part of a committee with 1,200 members. The committee has the right to elect lawmakers, cabinet members and the government leader out of a candidate list provided by Beijing.
A total of 479 seats are available in district councils. Some 452 of the seats are directly elected while the remaining 27 are allocated to representatives of rural districts.