Candidates allowed to offer voters free transportation

Friday, September 18, 2009
Issue 822, Page 3
Word count: 480
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) said yesterday candidates are allowed to provide free transportation to voters on the election day, but no publicity materials can appear on the vehicles.

The EAC met the media at the Public Administration Building to announce several guidelines and rules in relation to the Sunday election.

Since this year the 27 polling stations are located close to neighbourhoods, EAC president Fong Man Chong said no free public bus service will be arranged.

In addition, Mr Fong said the EAC will not prohibit the lists from providing courtesy transportation to voters, yet they must have to comply with several rules.

“Voters have the freedom to choose whether or not to use the free bus services; no matter before or after voting, candidates cannot offer any meals to voters as a reward,” Mr Fong said.

“The lists can’t directly or indirectly call for people to vote for them in crowed places or on the vehicles, such as giving implicit signs, showing the lists’ logos, symbols, stickers and other distinguishable items,” he added.

Candidates are also not allowed to promise voters that they can receive any kinds of “rewards’ either before or after voting.

According to the Legislative Electoral Law, people who commit electoral corruption crime could be sentenced to one to eight years in prison.

Voters who accept illegitimate interests could also face maximum three years in jail.

On the other hand, the EAC president said all the 16 lists are required to remove all publicity materials before midnight tonight when the election campaign officially ends.

However, the posters on the 20 government-designated boards can be kept.

During the reflection period before the polling stations open at 9pm on Sunday, if any publicity materials are found in any public or semi-public places, the EAC will first notify the lists. If the situation persists, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau and police will be called to remove the items, Mr Fong said.

He also said that candidates are restricted to send voters text messages or leave relevant messages on the Internet during the reflection period.

Meanwhile, patients who are being hospitalised can go to vote as long as they can present a relevant certificate issued by the hospitals.

The EAC president also urged all H1N1 flu patients or people with flu symptoms to wear face masks when entering polling stations.

Ng Seng Fong officially quits

On the other hand, the Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau posted the public announcement regarding the withdrawal of Ng Seng Fong from the Sunday election in the Public Administration Building yesterday.

Ng was the fourth candidate of the Democratic New Macao Association headed by Au Kam San. She was revealed by local newspapers on Wednesday that she has been sentenced to three years and three months in jail in July this year on fraud and document forgery charges involving around 300,000 patacas.

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