Candidates running in the September 17 legislative elections and their supporters gathered in Praça do Tap Seac around midnight on Friday to mark the official start of the two-week official campaign period by putting up their respective electoral groups’ campaign posters.
According to the Macau Post Daily about a thousand people were present.
Officially, the campaign started at 0:00 on Saturday and ends on September 15 at 11:59 p.m. No campaigning is allowed on the eve of polling day. Campaigning is also prohibited on election day.
A record 24 groups are running in the direct election while the total number of candidates stands at a record 186, or 13.3 candidates per seat up for grabs.
A total of 14 of the legislature’s 33 seats will be directly elected by popular vote while there are 12 seats for candidates running in the indirect election by representatives of associations. After the direct and indirect elections, the chief executive will appoint the legislature’s seven remaining members.
Many groups were waiting in Praça do Tap Seac from about 11 p.m. on Friday to put up their campaign posters as quickly as possible at midnight on the dot. Many supporters waved flags, banners and light boards with their groups’ ballot paper numbers. They also shouted their groups’ slogans.
A number of police officers were deployed to maintain order. The campaigners peacefully dispersed, leaving the square almost empty by 1 a.m.
Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan, Public Security Police (PSP) Commissioner Leong Man Cheong, Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee (CAEAL) President Tong Hio Fong and some of his fellow committee members were seen standing on the first-floor balcony of the Cultural Affair Bureau (IC) watching the candidates and their supporters putting up the posters.
Meanwhile, a number of electoral groups launched rallies at their headquarters before going to put up their posters, such as the Union for Development (UPD), Macau Citizens Development Association (ACDM) and Macau United Citizens’ Association (ACUM).
According to the committee’s website, there are 23 officially approved locales for candidates to put up posters and 19 venues for candidates to conduct campaign activities.
All electoral groups’ summaries of their political platforms and campaign videos are available on the CAEAL website. The website also says residents can pick up a hard copy of the summaries at 80 locations on the peninsula while there are 19 in Taipa and six in Coloane.