Asia

Voting in Hong Kong gets under way for crucial election

  • Radical activist candidate Gary Fan, right, looks at the supporters of Horace Chin, a radical activist candidate, during their election campaign in Hong Kong Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Hong Kongers are heading to the polls Sunday in the first major election since 2014 pro-democracy street protests. A new crop of radical activists are challenging both pro-Beijing rivals and Hong Kong's mainstream pro-democracy parties for seats in the Legislative Council. A series of vandalized posters are a sign that the elections are the most contentious since the 1997 British handover of the city to China. At left is Hong Kong localist leader Edward Leung Tin-kei, one of the candidates rejected to participate in the Legislative Council elections. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    Radical activist candidate Gary Fan, right, looks at the supporters of Horace Chin, a radical activist candidate, during their election campaign in Hong Kong Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Hong Kongers are heading to the polls Sunday in the first major election since 2014 pro-democracy street protests. A new crop of radical activists are challenging both pro-Beijing rivals and Hong Kong's mainstream pro-democracy parties for seats in the Legislative Council. A series of vandalized posters are a sign that the elections are the most contentious since the 1997 British handover of the city to China. At left is Hong Kong localist leader Edward Leung Tin-kei, one of the candidates rejected to participate in the Legislative Council elections. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)  (The Associated Press)

  • Supporters from different political groups line to urge people to vote,  at the upcoming Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Hong Kongers are heading to the polls Sunday in the first major election since 2014 pro-democracy street protests. A new crop of radical activists are challenging both pro-Beijing rivals and Hong Kong's mainstream pro-democracy parties for seats in the Legislative Council. A series of vandalized posters are a sign that the elections are the most contentious since the 1997 British handover of the city to China. At left is Hong Kong localist leader Edward Leung Tin-kei, one of the candidates rejected to participate in the Legislative Council elections. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    Supporters from different political groups line to urge people to vote, at the upcoming Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Hong Kongers are heading to the polls Sunday in the first major election since 2014 pro-democracy street protests. A new crop of radical activists are challenging both pro-Beijing rivals and Hong Kong's mainstream pro-democracy parties for seats in the Legislative Council. A series of vandalized posters are a sign that the elections are the most contentious since the 1997 British handover of the city to China. At left is Hong Kong localist leader Edward Leung Tin-kei, one of the candidates rejected to participate in the Legislative Council elections. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)  (The Associated Press)

  • Radical activist candidates, from left, Baggio Leung, Yau Wai-ching, Kenny Wong and Henry Wong pose for photographers against Victoria Harbour during their election campaign in Hong Kong Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Hong Kongers are heading to the polls Sunday in the first major election since 2014 pro-democracy street protests. A new crop of radical activists are challenging both pro-Beijing rivals and Hong Kong's mainstream pro-democracy parties for seats in the Legislative Council. A series of vandalized posters are a sign that the elections are the most contentious since the 1997 British handover of the city to China. At left is Hong Kong localist leader Edward Leung Tin-kei, one of the candidates rejected to participate in the Legislative Council elections. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

    Radical activist candidates, from left, Baggio Leung, Yau Wai-ching, Kenny Wong and Henry Wong pose for photographers against Victoria Harbour during their election campaign in Hong Kong Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Hong Kongers are heading to the polls Sunday in the first major election since 2014 pro-democracy street protests. A new crop of radical activists are challenging both pro-Beijing rivals and Hong Kong's mainstream pro-democracy parties for seats in the Legislative Council. A series of vandalized posters are a sign that the elections are the most contentious since the 1997 British handover of the city to China. At left is Hong Kong localist leader Edward Leung Tin-kei, one of the candidates rejected to participate in the Legislative Council elections. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)  (The Associated Press)

Polls have opened in Hong Kong for a legislative election that's expected to be the most crucial vote for the specially administered Chinese city since the handover from Britain in 1997.

Sunday's citywide vote 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 that emerged after those protests have 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 pro-Beijing leader 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.