Democrats “disappointed” at electoral laws changes

Thursday, February 28, 2008
Issue 267, Page 5
Word count: 329
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The first consultation session of the Macau electoral system revision addressing local political and business figures was held last night at the Cultural Centre where the majority of the speakers were supportive to the proposed changes.

More than 100 figures including Macau deputies to the National People’s Congress and to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, local lawmakers and representatives of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Basic Law Promotional Association attended the session in which nine of them presented their opinions to the panel chaired by Secretary for Administration and Justice, Florinda Chan.

Most of the speakers showed support to the revision, citing that the changes would go with the pace of Macau’s society, respond to the social demands as well as represent a significant progress towards the democratic political system.

However, democrats and lawmakers Ng Kuok Cheong and Au Kam San both told the session they were “disappointed” at the three consultation documents.

Mr Ng said the revision completely avoided the issues of allowing permanent residents to vote for the Chief Executive and increasing the number of direct seats at the Legislative Council, which showed no progress from the original political system.

In addition, he said increasing the requirement for social organisations wishing to be qualified as a legal person to vote in the indirect election of the Legislative Council was a “political decision” which deprived the political right of the new groups established after the 1999 handover and protected the interests of the old ones.

On the other hand, Au Kam San said the revision only touched on “technical issues”, and questioned if the Chief Executive worked for the 300 members of the electoral commission or the whole population of Macau.

As Florinda Chan said the proposed changes mainly catered for the elections next year, Mr Au also raised the question of whether the government was going to introduce legal revisions for each election in the future without having a long vision.

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