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Macao election success lays a solid foundation

HONG KONG – Macao’s legislative election, which was held in strict accordance with the “patriots administering Macao” principle on Sunday, will lay a solid foundation for the city’s stability and pave the way for the city’s revival in the post-pandemic era, legal and political experts said.

Sunday’s election saw over 130,000 voters cast their ballots to elect 14 people to the 33-member legislature. Another 12 won indirectly elected seats. The remaining seven seats will be appointed by the chief executive. 

The Macao Special Administrative Region’s seventh Legislative Assembly will convene next month.

Tian Feilong, associate professor at the Law School of Beihang University, said that one of the highlights of the election was that the principle of “patriots administering Macao” was upheld.

In July, Macao’s Electoral Affairs Commission announced 21 people were barred from standing for election on the grounds that they failed to uphold the city’s Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the city. Following that, the Court of Final Appeal dismissed appeals filed by some disqualified candidates and upheld the Electoral Affairs Commission’s decision.

The decisions drew a line for those set to run for election and made it clearer what the “patriots administering Macao” principle was about, said Tian, who is also executive director of the law school’s One Country Two Systems Legal Studies Center.

Under such circumstances, policies related to candidates’ capabilities and improving people’s livelihoods were put into the spotlight during the campaign, rather than some politicized topics, Tian said, adding such an election was “healthy” and “constructive” for the city.

As Macao is tasked with promoting the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and reviving its pandemic-hit economy, the city, in such a critical moment, needs a strong, loyal governing team and stable political environment to ensure policies can be well implemented and the city can integrate into the nation’s overall development, Tian noted.

Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies — the nation’s top think tank for Hong Kong and Macao affairs — said that banning those who failed to show their loyalty to the city and the nation from the race was a prudent move taken to reduce national security risks, which reflected the full implementation of “patriots administering Macao”.

Lau said he believed the lawmakers elected in accordance with the “patriots administering Macao” principle and the Macao SAR government will make efforts in the same direction for the public interest and the city’s future.

Kou Hoi-in, the incumbent president of the Legislative Assembly who won an indirectly elected seat in the new legislature, said he will keep a close eye on the city’s business development and business environment and take responsibility to supervise the Macao SAR government to improve the efficiency of its governance.

Grace Wong Kit-cheng, who was reelected on Sunday, said the new legislature, composed of people who love the city and the country and share similar goals, will be more efficient when dealing with bills and put forward more high-quality policymaking suggestions. 

She said she believed all lawmakers-elect will make efforts to ensure the government’s policies are better implemented and more proactively promote the city to further integrate into the nation’s development.