Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee (CAEAL) President Tong Hio Fong said on Wednesday that the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) had made a “technical mistake” by not explaining clearly the reasons for rejecting the New Macau Progressives (ANPM) electoral group’s application to hold campaign rallies in various public places.
According to the Macau Post Daily, the bureau refused the applications submitted by the New Macau Progressives, No. 7 on Sunday’s ballot, and two other electoral groups last week. In the replies to the groups, the bureau merely said it rejected their applications because they planned to hold the rallies “in the name of the electoral groups”.
Wong Kin Long, the ANPM fourth-ranked candidate, filed an appeal with the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) and the court ruled on Monday that the bureau’s rejections were “ungrounded” and, consequently, the ANPM won the case.
Speaking to reporters after a regular meeting of the government-appointed committee at the Public Administration Building in Rua do Campo, Tong said his committee had reviewed the bureau’s replies to the electoral groups. He said he acknowledged that there were “flaws” in the replies, by failing to explain clearly why the bureau had rejected the applications.
“The bureau just made a technical mistake,” Tong said.
Citing the Legislative Assembly Election Law, Tong said the electoral groups were allowed to hold rallies “which do not affect other groups using the venues which the committee assigned to them for their campaign activities”.
“We [the committee] didn’t say that [the NMA] is not allowed to hold any rally or protest. It just means that if you display any campaign materials, you have to follow the Legislative Assembly Election Law.”
Tong also said the committee had received about 50 complaints about the campaign since September 2, adding that 10 of them had been referred to the police for possible follow-up action.