Macao holds legislative election

Macau is preparing to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its handover to China. Photo: Dickson Lee. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MACAO, Sep 12, 2021, Xinhua. 128 candidates from 14 election teams are contesting 14 of the 33 seats in Macao Special Administrative Region’s Legislative Assembly on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

Some polling stations saw voters lining up before the polling began at 9 am. In light of the pandemic, the 36 polling stations in the city opened to the public to wait indoors 30 minutes before the polling began. Voting will end at 9 pm.

Speaking to CCTV, the Director of Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau Kou Peng-kuan and member of the Electoral Affairs Commission for the Legislative Assembly Election said voters need to present their health code and wear mask and use disinfectant before entering the polling station.

The commission also updated its system to expedite the voting and counting. The initial result is expected to be announced by early morning of Monday.

According to the commission, the first hour polling rate was 4.67 percent, with over 15,000 voters casting their votes. The rate was 1.96 percent lower than that of the last election held in 2017.

Apart from the 14 seats returned by the public on Sunday, 12 seats in the Legislative Assembly will be determined through indirect election by professional sectors and seven seats will be appointed by the Chief Executive of Macao Special Administrative Region Ho Iat-seng. The appointments will be made within 15 days of the election result being announced.

At a media briefing on Sunday morning, Ho Iat-seng said he hoped that the future Legislative Council members would highlight any inadequate performance by the government, thus helping the government improve its work.

In August, the SAR government sent out poll notices to over 320,000 eligible voters registered for the election of the seventh Legislative Assembly.

According to the city’s electoral system, votes received by every election team will be allocated proportionally to candidates listed in the group with the first candidate on the list taking all the votes received for the team and the second candidates taking half of the votes and the third taking a quarter of the votes. Each candidate will then be ranked in order of the number of ballots received and the top 14 will win seats. The same vote counting method, which is known as the modified d’Hondt method, will be used for the indirect election.

The city holds its legislative election every four years.

In July, Macao’s Electoral Affairs Commission disqualified 21 candidates from standing for the legislative election for failing to pledge allegiance to the Macao SAR or uphold the region’s Basic Law.

Later, the Macao Court of Final Appeal dismissed appeals filed by some barred candidates and upheld the Electoral Affairs Commission’s decision, limiting the number of hopefuls competing in the direct election to 128.

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