Broadcasting live videos is not a campaign option unless incumbent candidates for the coming Legislative Assembly (AL) elections have previously declared their intent to do so to the Electoral Committee (CAEL).
“In order to perform such activities, candidates should first declare them. While they could still do it without prior notification, they should know that punishment is foreseen by the electoral law,” said Tong Hio Fong, CAEL’s President, on the sidelines of a clarification session held on Friday for candidates.
In regards to candidates publicizing information in their own offices, Tong clarified that “only information about the work they have accomplished in the AL, of neutral type, can be posted there.”
According to information provided by the relevant authorities during the session, candidates have until August 30 to communicate their planned activities for the 15-day campaign period, which stretches from September 2 to 17.
The provisions concern candidates on an individual basis and the electoral lists with no prejudice.
In addition to activities linked to the 15-day campaign period, candidates also ought to declare their affiliation with companies and associations or foundations in which they hold executive positions.
Organization of activities which are not directly planned with campaigning proper, but which involve the “allocation of benefits” such as subsidies, gifts, trips outside Macau, and food and beverages, must also be declared, according to Lam Chi Long, Assistant Commissioner for the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC).
The majority of questions raised during the session came from lists newly registered in the electoral process.
In reply to questions raised by the audience, CAEL’s head further said that the Committee “will still hold meetings with the lists to co-ordinate” car campaigning, adding that the Committee is working “to avoid overlapping of routes and itineraries of different lists.”
CCAC’s head, Cheong Weng Chon, added that “on the day of the elections, candidates are not forbidden to transport voters to pooling stations, as long as there is no explicit or implicit propaganda displayed in the vehicle.”
As for the participation of candidates in private meals and banquets before the election, Cheong said that “the law does not prohibit it, unless [such meetings] are organized intentionally, in the name of the candidate or the list,” in which case they would be considered a “violation of the law.”
CAEL’s President also explained that “the law does not forbid the conducting of surveys during the electoral campaign process,” but cautioned that “survey reports cannot be published during the campaigning period until one day after the election.”
Non-adherence to regulations constitutes a crime of disobedience and non-abiding candidates may be subject to fines ranging from MOP10,000 to MOP100,000.
Speaking on the sidelines of the session, CCAC’s head informed that there are currently 67 cases under investigation for violation of the electoral law, however the details of which cannot be disclosed due to the fact that investigations are ongoing.
Candidates are required to fill in forms available online at CAEL’s webpage in order to inform the committee of activities to be conducted both for campaigning purposes and on subsidiary matters, such as those related to distributing benefits, according to information provided by CCAC’s Assistant Commissioner during the session.
Candidates can request changes to forms already submitted or withdraw them.
All information provided by the candidates will be uploaded on the CAEL’s webpage, the authorities stated.