June 17, 2015 / 5:58 AM / 3 years ago

Hong Kong starts debate on contentious electoral reform plan

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong legislators began a debate on a Beijing-backed electoral reform proposal on Wednesday, as hundreds of people gathered outside government buildings ahead of a contentious vote that is expected by the end of this week.

A general view of a Legislative Council meeting before a Beijing-backed electoral reform is debated in Hong Kong, China June 17, 2015. More than a thousand people converged on Hong Kong's Legislative Council early on Wednesday before lawmakers debate a Beijing-backed electoral reform plan that could trigger fresh protests in the Chinese-controlled city. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Lawmakers are debating a blueprint that will allow a direct vote for Hong Kong’s next leader in 2017, but only from pre-screened, pro-Beijing candidates. Opponents say they want a genuinely democratic vote.

Reporting By Anne Marie Roantree and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Alex Richardson

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