China’s Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau will hold elections for its legislative assembly today. The former Portuguese colony has
China’s Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau will hold elections for its legislative assembly today.
The former Portuguese colony has a hybrid semi-democratic system under Beijing’s “one country, two systems” SAR policies for Macau. This will see 14 directly elected representatives, 12 indirectly elected representatives from mostly pro-Beijing industry and interest group bodies and an additional seven members chosen by the Beijing-appointed Chief Executive—a post held by Ho Lat Seng since 2019.
Expect the 22-year dominance of pro-Beijing representatives to continue in the 33-seat assembly. The system is heavily skewed towards pro-Beijing candidates who have held over 80% of assembly seats since the end of Portuguese rule in 1999. Only four pro-democracy members have been elected in the past 12 years and that trend is almost certain to continue after 21 opposition candidates were disqualified in lead-up to today’s vote.
A pro-Beijing assembly in the medium-term will mean significantly increased integration with China. This includes financial integration with China under the recently approved Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area Wealth Connects programme—allowing for greater reliance on Chinese investors for Macanese projects, but also theoretically making it easier to seize the financial assets of dissidents.
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