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Hopes voiced for new Macao SAR legislature

HONG KONG – The new Legislative Assembly of the Macao Special Administrative Region faces great expectations for diversifying the economy, improving people’s lives and deepening cooperation between the SAR and the mainland with the groundbreaking cross-border cooperation zone, the central government offices said on Monday.

In separate statements, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, which oversees the affairs of the Hong Kong and Macao SARs, and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR congratulated the city on the successful completion of its seventh Legislative Assembly elections, which were held on Sunday.

The two offices also praised the election results as demonstrating the principle of “patriots administering Macao”, as well as democracy and broad participation of people from all levels and sectors of Macao society.

After 12 hours of polling, 14 of the 128 candidates won seats through direct election, with a turnout rate of 42.38 percent — or 137,281 votes cast out of more than 320,000 registered voters, despite thunderstorms and hot weather.

Of the 14 members, seven were newly elected and seven reelected, including Si Ka-lon, who got the most votes with 26,593.

Si thanked voters for their trust and said he will see to it that the cooperation zone in Hengqin will maximize Macao’s development.

Three members of the Macao Institution of People’s Alliance were elected, making it the largest party in the Legislative Assembly with a total of 14 direct-elected seats.

Sunday’s election also saw 12 elected through indirect elections by six constituencies — the business and financial sector, the labor sector, the professional sector, the education and social services sector, and the cultural and sports sector.

Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng will appoint seven people to the remaining seats in the coming days.

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said, “We hope the elected members of the Macao SAR Legislative Assembly can live up to the trust of Macao residents, earnestly perform their duties and actively support the Macao SAR government to exercise law-based governance.”

The new legislators should improve their ability and level of governance and work with all sectors of Macao society to reach new achievements, the spokesperson said, adding that Macao society will successfully implement “one country, two systems” with Macao characteristics and contribute to the realization of “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.

“Macao is embracing a new major opportunity for development. We are confident of its better development,” the spokesperson said.

One week before the election, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China’s Cabinet, issued a general plan for building an in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin, an island in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, near Macao. It aims to make up for the shortage of land resources in Macao and create favorable conditions for its diversified industrial developments.

The liaison office emphasized its confidence that the new Legislative Assembly will exercise its power as prescribed in the Macao SAR Basic Law and build on the consensus of all sectors of Macao society.

Early Monday, the Macao government thanked the voters and 3,000 civil servants for braving the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the weather to exercise their civic duty and assist in a lawful, fair, open and clean election.