Joseph Yu-shek Cheng is Chair Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of the Contemporary China Research Project, City University of Hong Kong.
The election is being seen as a test of public opinion regarding the demonstrations. If those in power continue to ignore our demands, Hong Kongers will continue to demonstrate peacefully for their fulfillment.
Since early June, Hong Kong has been rocked by protests sparked by a bill that would have allowed people to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial.
The pro-democracy camp hailed its astounding gains as a victory for the people and said Lam and Beijing must now seriously heed protestors' demands, which include free elections for the city's leader and legislature as well as an investigation into alleged police brutality.
"There are various analyses and interpretations in the community in relation to the results, and quite a few are of the view that the results reflect people's dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society", Lam said in a statement released online Monday.
Starry Lee, leader of the biggest pro-Beijing party who narrowly defeated her challenger, also called for reflection by the city's administration.
"Our people have learned from each other, accepted each other, helped each other over more than 1,000 years.The written characters we use, the rice we eat, the tea we drink are all symbols of our cultural exchanges", Wang said.
Preliminary results of the election reported by local broadcaster RTHK suggest that about 390 seats out of 452 that were up for grabs in 18 district councils have been claimed by the anti-government candidates. This is nearly double the turnout figure for the last district elections four years ago. There were no reports of major clashes.
The district councils, however, have no real influence on how Hong Kong is governed.
"It is hoped that the pro-establishment groups in Hong Kong will not be discouraged, and Hongkongers who love the country and the city will not be disheartened after the district council elections".
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Mr Wong, an accountant in his late 30s, said this election was especially important to him, revealing that his business had suffered during the unrest, but he added: "If they kill us and take our freedom, what's the point of giving us good business?"
District councillors lack political heft and deal largely with livelihood issues.
The district councils have little power, but the vote became a referendum on the protests. Their victory disrupts the district councils long dominated by local figureheads and old-time politicians. Yet, the public favors them.
China denies interfering and says it is committed to the "one country, two systems" formula for the former British colony put in place when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
"The government should immediately establish the Five Demands and respond to the public's voices". "You're going to get people back on the streets", he said.
For the protesters, there was another reason to rein in their joy: For all the symbolic significance of Sunday's elections, it is unclear just how much change can be expected from the electoral victory. An estimated 30 protesters, fearing arrest, are still hiding inside the Polytechnic University. Political observers had also predicted a democratic takeover of only half the seats.
Some pro-establishment candidates have already pointed fingers at her for their losses, while the pro-democracy camp said that she should quit.
Meanwhile, China has been guarded in its response.
In Beijing, the election results could prompt the government to reconsider its approach to the crisis, which has been to express support for Lam and the police while not intervening directly.
The result of Sunday's elections could force Beijing to rethink how to handle the unrest, which is now in its sixth month.