Gov’t underlines executive power prevails over others

The Macau government said today (Friday) that the executive power is the most important in the city, the day after a pro-democracy legislator warned of the predominance of executive power over legislative and judicial power.

The political regime in Macau and the basic law “very clearly define” this situation, said the spokesman of the Macau executive council and Secretary for Administration and Justice, André Cheong, when questioned by journalists at a press conference held this afternoon.

“In Macau, it is always the predominance of the executive,” he stressed, adding that the three branches are able to collaborate with each other.

“Each one has the responsibility” and “each one has their own competences”, he explained, but immediately afterwards he reinforced: “I do not say that there is a very obvious separation of powers […]. It is not a classic separation of powers”.

However, he insisted, there are ‘checks and balances’, and cooperation.

“We have been doing this for more than 20 years,” he said, referring to the passage of Portugal’s administration to China in 1999, adding that “it has brought many benefits to society”.

This Government response comes a day after pro-democracy deputy Sulu Sou warned of the predominance of executive power over the legislative and judicial, arguing that “this addiction” can “generate corruption and tyranny” and “damage freedom”.

During the intervention in the Legislative Assembly (AL), Solu Sou said that “the holders of power repeatedly emphasize the predominance of the executive power, which worsened the imbalance of powers”.

After more than 400 years under Portuguese administration, Macau became a Special Administrative Region [MSAR] of China on December 20, 1999, with a high degree of autonomy agreed over a period of 50 years, at the executive, legislative and judicial level, with the Chinese central government being responsible for foreign affairs and defence.

“The existence of a higher power, above the three powers, that is, the central power, and the emphasis is given repeatedly by those in power to the predominance of the executive, do not prevent or contradict the fact that the political structure of the MSAR is conceived based on the spirit of the separation of powers, “argued the pro-democracy deputy.

Sulu Sou criticized the fact that the government could use the power to nominate deputies or dissolve the assembly “to affect the legislative power”.

Of the 33 legislators with seats in the AL, 14 are elected by direct suffrage, 12 by indirect suffrage and seven are appointed by the chief executive.

“The power of legislative initiative of the deputies is limited, which makes it difficult to direct the political agenda on behalf of public opinion and promote the accountability of the Government to the entire population”, denounced Sulu Sou.

This situation is aggravated, he argued, because Macau has an unelected government by universal suffrage that “dominates the entire political environment”.

The leader of the Government of Macau is elected by an electoral commission made up of 400 members, representing the four sectors of society.

The Macau Basic Law establishes the following four sectors of society: industrial, commercial and financial; cultural, educational, professional; work, social services, religion; in addition to representatives of deputies to the Legislative Assembly and members of municipal bodies, Macau deputies to the Chinese National People’s Assembly and representatives of Macau members to the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

“Any public power must subject itself to effective control and balance, otherwise it will end up generating corruption and tyranny and damaging the people’s freedom, security and interests”, warned Sulu Sou.