Macau Opinion | Status quo

With no ballot results in hand at the time of writing and clearly with little motivation to digress on the matter of partisan politics, populism, and hatred that has been on the rise in the country for quite a while now – those themes are not new, but the scale is – I’d rather write about another election, that for the Advisory Council of the soon-to-be Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM).

At the beginning of the month, the Macau government had announced that the period for recommending members for the Council or for aspiring members to recommend themselves would be open for roughly a month.

As with many of the local regulations and by-laws enacted by the body politic, the act that approved the creation of the new Municipal Bureau, including the guidelines for establishing the Advisory Council and defining its members, is obscenely vague.

Moreover, time for preparing and submitting applications is not too long. But it is granted that the law regulating the new body had been approved a while back, and those on track for nomination would have known and been moving pieces for some time now to gather the support needed to land a seat in the council.

Then again comes the question of whom the council has been created for. While its vocation is to serve as a link between the different sectors of society and the making of politics and policies on a regular basis – functioning much through the associative mechanism which is so dear to Macau’s political system – there is no clear indication that popular demands will be efficiently channeled.

One of the reasons for that is that given the opacity – some might say subjectivity – of election criteria and the lack of indication about the actual election process – who is after all going to choose the members – it is likely that the council will be composed by the same old conservative, traditional and oligarchic elites that run the city.

The way politics in Macau has been orchestrated in the last few years thus leaves room for skepticism about the local capacity of forming new political or sector representation in which women and young trained minds would be an actual part, and not only appointed as tokens.

Partisan politics reign in many parts.