Portugal following exclusion of pro-democracy candidates

Portugal is following with great attention the exclusion of 15 pro-democracy candidates from the next elections in Macau for not being loyal to the SAR, the Portuguese ambassador to China said today (Tuesday).  

“It is undoubtedly a matter that is being followed very closely in Lisbon, by the Portuguese political authorities,” José Augusto Duarte told reporters on the sidelines of the 16th Ordinary Meeting of the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and the Portuguese-Language Countries (Macau Forum).

“The government in Portugal and the embassy and consul-general here are following the controversy in detail,” he said, adding that they will be doing their work.

The Legislative Assembly’s Commission for Electoral Affairs (CAEAL) has excluded five lists and 20 candidates from the elections for the AL scheduled for 12 September, 15 of which are associated with the pro-democratic camp, for not being “faithful” to Macau.

The body disclosed seven criteria used to decide whether candidates are eligible, arguing that it is necessary to assess whether they sincerely defend the SAR but did not reveal which violations the excluded candidates are accused of.

The three lists promised to take the case to the Court of Final Appeal on Saturday.

The Macau government supported CAEL’s decision and said that some participants are not eligible and do not affect the fundamental rights of Macau residents under the law or their freedom of expression.

Through the State Council’s Liaison Office and Office for Macau and Hong Kong Affairs, Beijing has also shown its full support for the decision.

The AL comprises 33 members, with 14 being elected by universal suffrage, 12 chosen by indirect suffrage (through associations), and the Chief Executive nominating seven.

The exclusion of candidates from the Macau elections comes after China passed an electoral reform in Hong Kong in March to ensure the principle “patriots administering Hong Kong”.

Days after Hong Kong’s electoral reform, the head of the Macau government vowed to put every effort into implementing Macau ruled by patriots principle.