Macau held a poll Sunday to elect the members of a 400-strong committee that will choose the city’s next top leader.
Only about 5,400 people were qualified to vote on 344 seats — the remaining 56 seats were filled directly by the establishment — in the exercise, prompting critics to dub it as a small-group vote and excluding 99 percent of the Macau’s residents, Apple Daily reported.
There were quite a few candidates related to the casino business. The list includes Pansy Ho, co-chair of MGM China; Francis Lui Yiu-tung, chairman of Galaxy Entertainment; and some casino-related legislators.
Macau commentator Huang Dong said casino leaders are seeking to be in the Chief Executive Election Committee as the city will review the casino licenses in 2015/16. The casino leaders would vote for a second term for incumbent chief executive Fernando Chui Sai-on to lift their bargaining power during the review, he said.
Some civil groups protested outside the poll stations and urged the voters to act against the small-group election. Macao Youth Dynamics president Kuan Un-san said the 400-member commission will not be representative of Macau citizens, Ming Pao reported.
Meanwhile, a Committee representative from the athletic sector, identified by his surname Wong, said the current system is already an improvement as citizens did not have any say in choosing Macau’s governor during the colonial period.
The Committee is expected to vote for a new chief executive as early as late August. Chui said earlier that he has recovered from metabolic arthritis and that there is no hindrance to his reelection campaign.
Macau undertook some political reform in 2012 to push forward democracy in the chief executive election. The Election Committee has been expanded to 400 members from 300 while the automatic election system for the committee has been ended, Xinhua news agency noted Monday.
The committee includes 120 members from the business and financial sector, 115 members from cultural, educational professional and athletic sector, and 115 from labor, social welfare and religious sectors. Meanwhile, there will be 12 members from Macau’s representative of National People’s Congress, 16 National Committee of Political Consultative Conference members and 22 legislators.
On March 31, Chui appointed the Superior Court Judge Song Min-li to chair the Chief Executive Election Committee and other four Electoral Affairs Commissions.
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