The lack of a democratic system, despite some autonomy, comes bearing gifts.
Suddenly, the strong candidate Ho Iat Seng is not alone in the race for the post of Chief Executive of the Macau SAR. Behold, there are far more candidates than you would initially have expected, including a self-proclaimed spy (but said to be unemployed for more than a decade), the owner of an air-conditioning company who does not know how to contact the Electoral Committee, the Honorary Consul of Papua New Guinea, and someone who spends his days with a microphone in his hands on the streets of Macau protesting in isolation about God knows what.
It was time for the Central Government to take advantage of Macau by floating tidbits of true democracy, shielding itself in the second system. After all, this city’s a long way from being a headache for Beijing. So different to neighbouring Hong Kong. Small-scale tests, it is thought, might serve as a catalyst for social improvements and appeasement if later adopted on the other side of the Pearl River as well as on the Mainland itself.
The solution will always be to open the regime and give voice to the people and not the other way around. But it is believed that the waters will have to be tested, as has already happened in small villages in China, with mini-elections for village chiefs and other democratic ‘daydreams’ held.
In this way, one day a candidate for Chief Executive may apply for a process that respects him or her, without an iota of shame or sham. The foregoing list of candidates – even if the candidates have every right to compete – is the only positive part of a process that is – transparently – a sad spectacle.