Some 867 candidates are in the fray fighting for 363 seats in the district council elections that will take place across the city on Sunday. Voters will decide on their choice of district councillor, and here’s why the polls matter: 1. The First Post-Occupy Political Temperature Taking Sunday will be the first post-Occupy elections and could reshape the political landscape. The 79-day Occupy protests took place last year from September to December and left the city deeply divided politically. In June this year, legislators rejected the government’s proposal for political reform – the issue that sparked the protests in the first place. The failed proposal had stipulated that only nominated candidates – up to three – could run for the city’s top position of chief executive in 2017. WATCH: "Umbrella Soldiers" among candidates in Hong Kong's District Council elections Pan-democratic groups said that after the protests and the reform package rejection, the movement would remain strong and represent a season of political awakening. The thinking went that more Hongkongers would be encouraged to vote in support of pro-democracy candidates. Beijing-loyalist groups argued otherwise: they said many Hong Kong voters would vote in support of pro-establishment candidates, weary of political mudslinging post-Occupy. READ MORE: Higher turnout in Hong Kong’s district council elections likely, HKU poll reveals More than 40 candidates either declared they hailed from new groups as a result of Occupy or were politically awakened by the 79-day sit-ins. They included doctors, accountants, IT professionals, financiers, the owner of an adventure-sports business, two chefs and a university student. They vowed during their campaigns to spread the same “bottom-up” community planning spirit that inspired them during last year’s protests, also known as the Umbrella Movement. Sunday’s results could show whether the pan-democrats or the pro-establishment camp was right about the effect of the Occupy movement on the city’s political landscape. CLICK HERE: INFOGRAPHIC: THE DISTRICT ELECTIONS 2. The first all-elected seats election Note that district councils serve to advise the government on matters affecting residents in the district and the provision of public facilities within the district. Number of seats: 431 Number of candidates received: 935 Number of uncontested constituencies: 68 867 candidates are contesting 363 constituencies New this year: All appointed seats were scrapped, except for 27 ex-officio seats reserved for rural leaders in the New Territories. READ MORE: Hong Kong’s pan-dems face uphill fight to retain Legco super seats amid strategic competition in district councils In 2011, only five out of 102 appointed district councillors gave up their seats and stood for the direct election. But as the government announced that all appointed seats would be scrapped by the end of this year, 13 out of 68 district councillors appointed in 2011 decided to run for a directly-elected seat. Some appointed councillors argued that, with their professional and business background, they would continue to make their districts a better place. The election will decide whether voters, empowered with a say, agree with them. 3. First big hint of how two looming political battles will shape up The election results will influence the Legislative Council election next year, and the chief executive election in 2017. District councillors are eligible to nominate their colleagues to run for five “super seats” in the Legco poll in September, and to run for 117 seats in the 1,200-strong Election Committee, which will elect the city’s chief executive in March 2017. The “super seats” are officially known as the District Council (II) constituency, but they’re so nicknamed because they have a citywide ballot of more than 3 million voters, several times larger than the electorate in the five geographical constituencies. 4. It’s about your money District councils have the power to decide on the use of large sums of taxpayers’ money allocated by the government for local level improvements. And some councillors can come up with wacky ideas, so watch out. In 2013, for example, the Tsuen Wan District Council faced a barrage of criticism after it was revealed that it spent HK$766,000 of public money to build a goose statue in Sham Tseng in honour of its famous roast goose dish, and endorsed a HK$1.5-million project to build a giant butterfly statue at Chuen Lung to grace the slopes of Tai Mo Shan. Since then, district councillors promised they would spend taxpayers’ money more wisely, especially after Leung announced the Signature Project Scheme, under which each of the 18 district councils approved a one-off grant of HK$100 million to improve neighbourhood facilities. All the projects were to be proposed, discussed and agreed on by district councils. Another controversy: In August, the Tai Po district council was criticised as its plan to build a HK$12 million public square in Tai Po was lambasted as a local answer to Tiananmen Square. Some pro-democracy candidates said they hoped to win and stop public money from being misused or used without sufficient consultation. Apart from the signature project scheme, district councils are entitled to initiate, endorse and manage minor works in their districts that cost no more than HK$30 million each, under the District Minor Works Programme. In the present financial year, HK$340 million was earmarked for the programme. It’s your money, so you should care. And yes, vote wisely.