Macau set for vote on new leader

Local | Jane Cheung 17 Jun 2019

More than 5,000 people have voted to choose members of an election committee selecting Macau's next chief executive yesterday, representing a voter turnout of 87.2 percent.

The turnout was 4.5 percentage points higher than 2014's 82.7 percent.

After the polling stations closed at 6pm, the Macau electoral affairs commission announced that 5,001 people out of 5,735 eligible voters cast their vote. The highest voting turnout was 94.9 percent in the labor sector.

Almost all 350 candidates, except six were elected yesterday as members of the election committee.

The election for Macau's top job will be held on a Sunday in the second-half of August - the exact date is yet to be announced.

Macau's election committee to decide the chief executive comprises 400 members.

The 344 elected yesterday form an election committee representing four sectors: industrial, commercial and financial sector; the cultural, educational, professional; sports sector and the labor, social services and religion sector.

Voting took place in three polling stations from 8am.

The competition was in the labor and education sector, in which voters had to choose 88 people from 94 candidates.

The other candidates - including 120 from the commerce and finance sector, 26 from culture, 42 professionals, 17 from sports and 50 from social services - are expected to successfully become members of the election committee due to an absence of competitors.

The remaining 56 were representatives of the National People's Congress, lawmakers, Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegates and local departments and organizations.

The Macau Basic Law states that a person must obtain at least 66 nominations from the 400-member committee to be accepted as a candidate.

Incumbent Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on is serving his second term as the top official of the SAR since 2009, after winning in a re-election in 2014.

According to the Macau Basic Law, a chief executive who has served two terms cannot run in an election again.

So far, three people have announced they will run for the top job.

Legislative Assembly president Ho Iat-seng, 61, made his announcement in April, after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in Beijing approved his application to resign from the parliament. The president of the Legislative Assembly is automatically a member of the election committee but the position is yet to be filled after Ho's resignation, so the committee only has 399 members at the moment.

Leung Kuok-chao, 45, who is an executive director of an investment consultancy, announced earlier this month that he also wants to run for the SAR's top job to reflect residents' views on issues such as housing and traffic.

Hoi Weng-chong in his 70s, who was best known for staging protests against his former employer Vantone Insurance Company after the company fired him, also announced his intention to run for the top post.

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