Elections to Macau’s legislative assembly to be held

China’s Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau will hold elections for its legislative assembly today. The former Portuguese colony has

Photo: Macao News

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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