Former Legislative Assembly (AL) president Ho Iat Seng’s election as Macau’s third chief executive next month is a fait accompli, considering that he has secured the backing of 94.5 per cent of the 400 members of the Chief Executive Election Committee.
This also means that he will be the only candidate, as a rival candidate would require at least 66 nominations, or 16.5 per cent, from the members of the election committee.
Ho told reporters on Monday that he had just submitted 378 nominations to the Electoral Affairs Commission for the Chief Executive Election. As announced by his support team on Friday, Ho went to the commission at 1:30 p.m.
Ho, who announced his decision in April to run for the city’s top job, and his support team arrived at the Electoral Information Centre on the ground floor of the Public Administration Building in Rua do Campo to submit his nomination forms.
Anyone interested in running for chief executive may personally or through a designated representative pick up the nomination forms at the Electoral Information Centre and return them to the centre until this evening.
Chief Executive Electoral Affairs Commission President Song Man Lei said on Friday that 13 local residents plan to run in next month’s chief executive election and have picked up nomination forms.
According to the Chief Executive Election Law, pre-candidates must obtain at least 66 nominations from the 400 members of the Chief Executive Election Committee to become a formal candidate able to run in the election. After Ho obtained 378 nominations it means that no other hopefuls are able obtain enough nominations to qualify as a candidate.
In the 4th chief executive election in 2014, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On was also the only candidate and obtained 331 nominations from the electors, or 82.7 per cent of the total, thereby easily winning a second five-year term.
Ho told reporters at the Electoral Information Centre after he submitted his nomination forms that his team had organised over 70 events and visited over 400 associations and organisations over the past 15 days, adding that he contacted nearly all the Chief Executive Election Committee members. He pointed out that some of them were not in Macau over the past fortnight.
1,100 opinions & suggestions
Ho also said that he received about 1,100 opinions and suggestions during his visits, on issues such as housing, traffic, health care and labour and pensions as well as the Greater Bay Area (GBA) development, adding that the next step was to prepare his political platform which he said will be launched on August 10.
The chief executive election campaign period will run from August 10-23, while the election will take place on August 25.
‘No opposition camp’
Responding to a reporter’s question about why he did not meet any representatives of Macau’s “opposition camp”, Ho said: “We visited many grassroots groups and associations for people with disabilities…Macau has over 9,000 groups, we can’t label their political positions individually and Macau doesn’t have an ‘opposition camp’…They all are local groups, local people”, adding: “We couldn’t visit all of them within 15 days, so we welcome any group to come to our election office to interact with us.”
Ho also pointed out that he focused on visiting the Chief Executive Election Committee members during the nomination period, adding that he would visit the community during next month’s campaign period with the aim of listening to citizens’ views.
According to the Macau Post Daily, when asked about how many of the 400 electors would vote for him on August 25, Ho said: “As I said before I would try my best to obtain as many nominations as I could…I will continue to try my best to gain as much [support] as I can…sure it depends on my political platform whether it meets the electors’ expectation, and maybe [the number of supporters] will be less than the nominations I obtained.”
In response to another reporter’s question about the election being a “one-horse race”, Ho said he would remain humble to continue his election campaign and listen to public opinion by visiting the community.
Ho, 62, a former indirectly-elected lawmaker representing the city’s business sector, quit the legislature in early July. He is also the former sole Macau member of the elite Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).