A two-week campaign for the Macau Legislative Assembly started on Saturday and will end at midnight on September 13.
There are a total of 20 groups comprising 145 candidates vying for 14 directly-elected seats in the September 15 direct elections.
The Macao Legislative Assembly will see its number of seats increased from 29 to 33 after direct and indirect elections this month, giving the city’s residents four more representatives to voice their concerns and suggestions.
In November 2011, Chief Executive Chui Sai On announced that his government would gauge public opinion on possible changes to the method of electing the legislature.
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing gave its green light to the Macau government’s initiative in December 2011. However, it stressed that any possible changes must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the legislature.
After a string of public consultation sessions on the matter, the Legislative Assembly in May 2012 passed the so-called “+2+2 mainstream option”, according to which two directly elected and two indirectly elected lawmakers will be added to the legislature in the next elections.
Macau’s first elections after the Carnation Revolution in Lisbon were held in 1976. While Chinese citizens who had lived in Macau for more than five years were theoretically allowed to register as voters, the tiny electorate of 2,846 voters was practically restricted to local Portuguese and Macanese for whom there was no five-year minimum residency requirement.
In 1984 election law was changed to grant equal election rights to Portuguese and “other nationals” living in Macau, “namely Chinese”.
The new law stated that any resident over the age of 18 – Portuguese, Chinese or foreigners – had the right to vote.
This finally led to local Chinese residents’ active participation in the electoral process. The legislative elections of 1984 involved 28,970 voters.(macaunews)