With the 2021 Legislative Assembly election campaign period already initiated, Macau News Agency presents an updated overview of the lists that will dispute the 14 direct and 12 indirectly elected seats that will be in dispute on September 12.
The campaign period was initiated on August 28 and will last for 14 days until September 10, with 241 election events to be held by the electoral lists for direct and indirect suffrages in the 18 places eligible for electoral propaganda.
The Legislative Assembly comprises 33 legislators, 14 chosen by popular vote and 12 who win seats through indirect suffrage, plus seven appointed by the Head of Government after the elections.
This will be the lowest attended election since the first elections held in the Macau SAR in 2001 when 15 electoral lists competed for the plenary.
Initially, a total of 19 electoral lists and a total of 159 candidates were running in the direct election, however, that number was reduced after the Electoral Affairs Committee disqualified five electoral lists and 20 candidates on July 13, citing evidence of “disloyalty” towards the Macau Basic Law and the country’s constitution.
The disqualification impacted 15 candidates from three pan-democratic lists, namely, Macau Democratic Prosperity Association, the New Macau Progressives and the New Macau Progressive Association lists, which included prominent pro-democratic figures such as incumbent legislators António Ng Kuok Cheong and Sulu Sou Ka Hou, plus political activist Scott Chiang and former legislator Paul Chan Wai Chi.
An appeal by the three electoral lists was later rejected by the Court of Final Appeal on July 31.
Other disqualified candidates included Lo Chun Seng from Macau Victory and two candidates from the New Macao Gaming list – gaming staff unionist, Cloee Chao Sao Fong and Lei Man Chao – and two candidates from the Macao Righteousness List, veteran labour rights activist Lee Sio Kuan and Kuok Nai Neng.
However, while Macau Victory and New Macao Gaming were not able to run for the election since both of them had fewer than the officially required minimum of candidates (four) and they did not propose any replacement candidates, the commission accepted the Macau Righteousness list as it still had the required minimum of four candidates.
In the end, a total of 14 lists and 126 direct-election candidates will be vying for votes of the now 325,180 registered voters, with eight candidates being incumbent legislators seeking re-election.
The current 14 electoral lists running are the following, by numerical order as set in the election ballots:
1 – Macao-Guangdong Union
After gathering the highest number of votes in the last AL elections, legislator Mak Soi Kun has made the surprise announcement that he will not be running as usual with the Macao-Guangdong Union so as to “open the way” to younger candidates.
The construction businessman will leave the torch with fellow legislator Zheng Anting, with the former VIP room manager to head the list together with Lo Choi In.
Both candidates are Vice-Presidents in the Macau Jiangmen Communal Society, which point to housing problems, transport, elderly care and better integration of local young residents in the Greater Bay Area as some of its current priorities.
2 – Civic Watch
‘Middle ground’ legislator Agnes Lam will try to retain her seat in the Nam Vam Lake legislative building, despite some difficulties in gathering the required 500 signatures after the electoral committing warning civil servants to not sign candidacy applications.
Without the support of the Macao New Chinese Youth Association this time, the list headed by the also University of Macau lecturer includes a diverse selection of professionals from various industries, such as education, culture, engineering, medicine and law, including Portuguese architect Rui Leão and team building specialist Brian Tan.
Faithful to the social issues that made up most of her interventions in the last four years, Lam has described housing, support for caregivers, protection of minorities and protection of mental health, and of course, pandemic economic recovery, as some of her main priorities.
3 – Macao United Citizens Association
The Fujian community will this year advance with a single list bringing together legislators Si Ka Lon and Song Pek Kei, ahead of a total of 13 candidates, after a separate list approach in 2017.
The economic recovery of the SAR and the gaming industry are included as the main priorities of the list’s political program, with the usual housing and transport support promises but with a call for more measures to improve the local vaccination rate.
In the last elections, the two lists supported by businessman Chan Meng Kam gathered 14,879 and 10,103 votes, but with 30,000 new registered voters the local political heavyweight is now putting his hopes on ‘killing two birds with one stone’.
4 – Platform for Youngsters
One of the new tickets on the block, the list has the Vice President of the International Lusophone Markets Business Association, Latonya Leong, as one of its representatives.
The list aims to promote the participation of Macau’s youth in politics and provide more suggestions to society with “positive energy” without support from any major associations.
It also aims to defend the interests of young people in terms of employment, entrepreneurship and professional development.
5 – Macao Development Power
The first list to announce its intentions to fight for a seat in the AL plenary, the list headed by the former President of the Macau Institution of People’s Alliance, Chan Tak Seng, and presented by local think-tank District Development Promotion Association.
The list has indicated it will fight for social issues that worry the local population, from urban planning to illegal pensions and fake marriages aimed at obtaining local residency.
A very active and vocal member of the Urban Planning Committee, Mr Chan was also involved in the 2013 campaign of former legislator Chan Meng Kam.
6 – Power of Synergy
Established by the Association of Synergy of Macau, this list will again have a go at the legislative elections, again with Ron Lam U Tou, a former FAOM Social Affairs Deputy Director.
Lam graduated in environmental sciences and has worked as a journalist, having also headed the FAOM’s think-tank, the Choi In Tung Sam Association where he conducted several studies and surveys on public policies, with an emphasis on housing.
In 2017, the list also included commentator Johnson Ian but did not manage to win a seat in the parliament after a 7,162 vote tally, falling 1,500 votes short of getting a seat.
7 – Dialogue Power
Advanced by the Macao Youth Federation, this list pledges to defend the usual social issues of employment, housing, transportation, but adding to the fore environmental protection and the creation of a youth development platform.
Upon submitting their candidacy, the Deputy Director of the federation stated that although established recently, the list members have been paying attention to social affairs for many years and the candidacy has gathered a group of enthusiastic local youths.
The MYF has as its President non-other than Health Bureau Director, Alvis Lo Iek Long, who gained more public prominence during the city’s efforts in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
8 – Progress Promotion Union
Deprived of legislator Ho Ion Sang in the race, the main list connected to the powerful UGAMM will have engineer Leong Hong Sai as a frontrunner and Ngan Iek Hang as second in the list.
Leong is a member of the governing bodies of the Macau Engineers’ Association and deputy director of the Center for Collective Wisdom Policy.
The list’s main slogan as defined by UGAMM’s President, Ng Siu Lai, is to “take care of people’s lives, revitalize the economy, pursue good governance, promote development and embrace the Greater Bay Area” with efforts to promote the development of public social, economic, sandwich-class and elderly housing and improving public transports.
9 – Alliance for a Happy Home
The same group that elected nurse Wong Kit Cheng, since 2013 has decided again to run solo in this year’s elections repeating the strategy adopted in 2017 that broke from a previous successful partnership with the influential General Union of Neighbourhood Associations of Macau (UGAMM).
Elected since 2009 to the legislative body, Ho Ion Sang could ‘jump’ to the indirectly elected pool via the social and educational services sector, with speculation that the Macau Women’s General Association (AGMM) Vice-President, legislator Chan Hong, could become a Chief Executive-appointed legislator.
Spousing ‘just’ the elder sister of current CE Ho Iat Seng, businesswoman Tina Ho as one of its representatives, the Alliance for a Happy Home has a very defined focus on women and family-related issues.
10 – Macao Righteousness
Lee Sio Kuan, President of the Ou Mun Kong I Association would’ve gone for his third attempt to reach the AL, if he had not been one of the candidates disqualified for disloyalty towards the Basic Law, together with Kuok Nai Neng.
Still, the list was allowed to run for the elections since it still included at least four eligible members, and Lee is still included in its advertising materials as its trustee.
The list has defended as its main electoral promise, the distribution of another government cash handout and allowing residents to cash out their social security pensions earlier.
The list was also one of the three that saw their confirmation temporarily suspended by the electoral committee after several repeated or irregular signatures were found in their application.
Lee then re-submitted his application at the Rua do Campo Public Administration building, bringing 300 supporters along with him to the building.
The candidate has promised to “revolutionise the elections” with what it described as a “Mad Dog strategy”. In 2017 Lee disrupted a campaign event by Sulu Sou in Areia Preta, yelling insults at the candidate, but was ultimately found not guilty of violating the right to assembly.
11 – Union for Development
The second most voted in the 2017 legislative elections, the Union for Development list is linked with the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (FAOM) and will once again be led by Ella Lei Cheng I, with Leong Sun Iok as its number 2.
Lei has cited improving housing policies, defending the rights of civil servants and developing local talent as some of the list’s main priority points for a new term, together with the improvement of social security mechanisms and the development of youth education.
The previous legislative term has notably seen FAOM’s four elected legislators – Leong Sun Iok, Ella Lei (directly elected) Lei Chan U and Lam Lon Wai (indirectly elected)- announce they had opted to stop proposing bills for a local trade union law to the AL and decide to wait for the government to draft one.
12 – Power of Political Thought
Former Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) employee, Nelson Kot, has already expressed the candidacy – which includes mainly public servants – will focus mainly on issues surrounding housing, civil service and future gaming concessions.
The list has pledged to reform the public administration career system and upgrade the current salaries of civil servants while demanding for the Macau government to provide more information to the public on the future gaming concession licensing process.
Kot also heads several sports associations, including the Bowling Association, the Federation of General Sports Associations, and the Macau Public Administration Workers Sports Association.
In the 2017 elections, the party won 8.3 per cent of the popular vote.
13 – Macao Basic Law Promotion Alliance
The name of this candidate list prompted a review of the electoral committee after some people questioned whether it was appropriate for a candidate to participate in elections in the name of the Basic Law.
The committee did not pose any objections to the list, with the candidacy presented by the President of the local Macau Legal Newspaper, Zhou Xinzheng, to go-ahead
Zhou has indicated to his own newspaper that his expertise lies in law and media and that he has been engaged in the promotion of the rule of law and popularization of law education for many years, researching the reform and construction of the legal system.
He underlined that if elected he will focus on promoting the construction of the rule of law in the city, the healthy of small and medium-sized enterprises, and the fair treatment of Macau residents in the mainland.
14 – New Hope
Having served in the AL since 2005, Jose Pereira Coutinho is looking for another four years in the plenary, with the usual backing from the civil servant community.
This year the Macau Civil Servant’s Association (ATFPM) President also faced difficulties in collecting signatures, since a hundred civil servants, mainly from the local security forces, ended up withdrawing their support after the electoral committee warning.
Indirect or sector elections
Without as much mystery and competition as the direct elections, considering it includes 12 candidates running for 12 spots, the sector elections will still have some new faces this year among the mainly incumbent candidates.
The indirectly-elect camp covers four seats representing the city’s industrial, commercial and financial sector, three seats from the professional sector, two seats from the labour sector, two seats from the cultural and sports sector, and one seat from the social services and educational sector.
Industrial, commercial and financial sector
The only list running for the sector will again be the Union for the Business Interest of Macau, which will again include Bank of China Vice-President, Ip Sio Kai; the Managing Director of CAA City Planning & Engineering Consultants Ltd, Jose Chui Sai Peng, and the President of the AL himself, Kou Hoi In.
In 2017 the now Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng run for the AL in the same list, with businessman Wang Sai Man elected as a replacement in a by-election in 2020 to fill the position left empty in the sector after Ho was elected as head of government, and Kou Hoi In taking up the AL President position
In the previous AL elections, the same list received 781 votes out of an electoral college made up of 2,244 eligible voters representing 102 different legal entities, of which only 791 voted.
The Joint Candidacy Commission of Employees’ Associations was again the only list running for the two labour sectors seats, with the list supported by the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (MFTU) again fielding Lam Lon Wai and Lei Chan U.
In 2017 the list received 1,012 votes in an electoral college including 1,650 voters representing 75 different legal persons, of which only 1,037 voted.
In 2017 two lists ran for the sector’s three seats, two lists, each with three candidates, the Union of Professional Interests of Macau which obtained 341 votes and elected businessman and older brother of former CE, Chui Sai Cheong, and lawyer Vong Hin Fai; and the Union of Medical Interests of Macau which obtained 205 votes and elected doctor Chan Iek Lap.
The electoral college covers 1,210 eligible voters representing 55 legal entities of which only 561 voted.
This time around all three indirect elected legislators decided to run again but with Chan joining the Union of Professional Interests of Macau list.
Social services and educational sector
Elected via the direct election path since 2009 as a representative of the pro-establishment Progress Promotion Union, the Vice-President of the General Union of Neighbourhood Associations of Macau (UGAMM), Ho Ion Sang, will jump to the indirectly elected side for the next plenary session.
Ho is set to replace Chan Hong as the representative elected by the sector in the AL, with Chan rumoured to be selected as a CE appointed legislator.
Chan is the Vice-Principal of the local Hou Kong School, which saw itself in the middle of controversy after one of its students became the source of the recent Covid-19 family cluster detected in Macau, following a school organised a field trip to Xi-an.
Education and Sport Sector
The Cultural and Sport Sunrise Union will be the only list vying for both seats reserved for this sector but with veteran legislator Vitor Cheung Lup Kwan leaving his seat in the plenary.
Since first elected in 2017, Vitor Cheung has repeatedly garnered the dubious honour of being the legislator with the lowest attendance record in the plenary. In the latest legislative session, he attended only 16 of 35 AL sessions and only one of the 38 sessions held the AL 3rd standing committee he is a member of.
This time around it will be former directly elected legislators and gaming businesswoman, Angela Leong On Kei, which on the first day of electoral campaign boasted as her credentials for running via the sports sector her past as a professional ballroom dancer.
The co-chairman and executive director of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, will run alongside the incumbent legislator and Executive Director of F&B group Future Bright, Chan Chak Mo.
In 2017 the same list obtained 1,499 votes out of an electoral college made up of 10,296 people representing 468 legal entities.