A party backed by China's central government won big in Hong Kong's district elections Sunday, dealing a crushing blow to the pro-democracy camp.
Official election results show Hong Kong's pro-Beijing party the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong winning nearly a third of the 405 elected seats 115 seats.
The pro-democracy Democratic Party won 60 seats, down from 140 seats in the previous elections in 2003.
More than a million Hong Kong residents cast ballots for councilors who advise the government on local affairs. Voter turnout was 38 percent, down from a record 44 percent in 2003.
District councilors have little real power, but the race was seen as a test of the public's appetite for political reform ahead of next year's legislative elections.
Analysts have expected that the pro-democracy camp would lose some of its 2003 gains because Hong Kong's recent strong economic gains have kept voters focused more on issues of livelihood than politics and reform.
China regained sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. Although universal suffrage is enshrined in Hong Kong's constitution, or Basic Law, Beijing has ruled out direct elections in the Special Administrative Region until at least 2012.
A record 900 candidates competed for the 405 district council seats in Sunday's district council election.