Polls favor indirect vote of Macao's next chief executive

Opinion papers on the Election Bill, which is under the review of the Legislative Council of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), all favor the existing mode of indirect vote of Macao's chief executive.

The Legco said on Wednesday that it has received 39 opinion papers from a wide range of circles such as influential industry and commerce, social welfare and labor societies as well as individuals, which all favor the election of a 300-member electioncommittee to elect Macao's next chief executive this year.

Under the bill, the election of the 300-member election committee, which comprises of representatives from all works of life, will be held 15 days after the Election Law comes into effect.

If the bill won across the board at the Legco, the number of the election committee members would be 100 more than that of the previous election session, which was held five years ago to elect the first chief executive of the Macao SAR government upon Macao'sreturn to the motherland in 1997.

The incumbent Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah will finish hisfive-year term on Dec. 19. The election of Macao's next Chief Executive shall be held no later than 60 days before the current office-holder's term expires.

Although having an obvious consentaneous view on the election mode, the opinion papers made various disagreements and suggestions on the Election Bill, mainly concerning the maximum of11 ballots reserved for each elective society, the qualifications of the elective organizations and the fund-raising for chief executive candidates.

Many held that the allocation of the maximum number of ballots should vary based on the scale and the power of influence of an elective society. For example, the Laborers' Association suggestedto enlarge its number of ballots from 11 to 40, citing the association is highly representative since most of Macao's workforce are employees.

The Legislative Council had approved the general outline of theSAR government's bill on the election of the next chief executive on Feb. 20. The Second Standing Committee of the legislative will soon turn out its own notion paper on the bill taking considerations of the public opinions. The notion paper is due to return to the assembly's plenum for an article-by-article vote after detailed discussions of its content are held at committee level.

Macao's chief executive is elected by Macao residents and then appointed by the Chinese central government, as defined by the Macao Basic Law. Only permanent Macao residents aged above 21 and who register as an eligible election voter can be elected as members of the Election Committee.


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