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Business leaders big winners, grassroots big losers of legislative poll

Business leaders are the big winners and grassroots groups the big losers of Sunday’s direct legislative election. The Macau United Citizens Association (ACUM) electoral group headed by businessman-cum-Fujianese community leader Chan Meng Kam won an unprecedented three directly-elected seats in the 33-member legislature. Aside from Chan, the group’s second- and third-ranked candidates, Si Ka Lon […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

Business leaders are the big winners and grassroots groups the big losers of Sunday’s direct legislative election.

The Macau United Citizens Association (ACUM) electoral group headed by businessman-cum-Fujianese community leader Chan Meng Kam won an unprecedented three directly-elected seats in the 33-member legislature.

Aside from Chan, the group’s second- and third-ranked candidates, Si Ka Lon and Song Pek Kei, were also elected.

The group won 26,385 votes, or 17.4 percent of the votes cast. The trio are leaders of Macau’s Fujianese community which accounts for about a quarter of the local population. The group won one more seat than in the previous legislative term.

This is the first time that a group has won three seats in the four elections that have been held since the 1999 handover.

Analysts had pointed that it was virtually impossible for a group to win more than two directly-elected seats, based on Macau’s modified D’Hondt proportional representation system.

The final result was announced at around 4:30 a.m. today.

A total of 151,881 voters cast their votes in the direct  legislative election with the valid number of votes standing at 146,453. There were 4,345 invalid and 1,083 blank votes. The voter turnout was 55 percent. In 2009, it stood at 59.9 percent.

The Progress Promotion Union (UPP), also known as “Collective Efforts” in Chinese, won two seats, one more than four years ago. The group is a “joint venture” between the Macau General Union of Neighbourhood Associations (Kai Fong) and Macau Women’s General Association (Fu Luen).

The group’s first and second-ranked candidate Ho Ion Sang and Wong Kit Cheng were elected.

The Macau-Guangdong Union (UMG) also won two seats, one more than before. Businessmen Mak Soi Kun and Zheng Anting got elected. The group is the electoral vehicle of the Macau Jiangmen Communal Society. Many Macau residents are immigrants from Jiangmen city in Guangdong.

Unionist-cum- lawmaker Jose Pereira Coutinho, the first-ranked candidate of New Hope (NE) was re-elected. The group’s second-ranked candidate Leong Veng Chai won the group’s second seat, one more than in 2009. Coutinho heads the influential Macau Civil Servants Association (ATFPM).

The New Macau Development Union’s first-ranked candidate Angela Leong On Kei was re-elected. Leong’s group missed out by just 16 votes to win a second seat. Her representative said this morning that the group would appeal the election result. If successful, it could endanger New Hope’s second seat. Leong, the fourth-wife of casino mogul Stanley Ho, is an executive of gaming company SJM.

Melinda Chan Mei Yi succeeded in her re-election. Chan is the first-ranked candidate of Alliance for Change (MUDAR). She is the wife of businessman David Chow Kam Fai, a former lawmaker.

Talking to The Macau Post Daily early this morning, top winner Chan Meng Kam pledged that he will continue to monitor the government’s performance and address issues that matter most to the public, such as the recent controversy surrounding communal antenna service providers and Macau Cable TV.

Macau-Guangdong Union’s Mak Soi Kun thanked supporters for not only re-electing him but also putting his running-mate Zheng Anting into the legislature.

Mak vowed that with people’s encouragement, he and Zheng would live up to their promises and continue to work for the public interest.

New Hope’s José Pereira Coutinho expressed hope that Macau would have more lawmakers who will fully devote their time to serving the public, saying his partner Leong Veng Chai would be able to fulfil this task.

In 2009’s direct election, the grassroots New Macau Association (NMA) and Macau Federation of Trade Union’s electoral group were the big winners. But in this election, both lost a seat each.

Compared to the 2009 direct election, the NMA activists lost a directly-elected seat with only Antonio Ng Kuok Cheong and Au Sam San winning re-election. Ng and Au’s fellow lawmaker Paul Chan Meng Chi, who was the second-ranked candidate on Ng’s ticket, failed to be re-elected.

In 2009, the group had fielded two separate groups and garnered about 27,400 votes. This time, the NMA ran with three groups but only garnered about 23,000 votes. The NMA’s New Macau Liberals headed by high-profile activist Jason Chao Teng Hei won just 3,227 votes.

Ng said this morning that the election result showed that giving out some kind of benefits or gifts to residents was the key to winning an election in today’s society.

He added that the NMA splitting into three groups was not the reason they lost a seat but that it gave young people a chance to get involved.

Paul Chan, who lost his seat, said he respected voters’ choice and hinted that he may leave politics and focus on education. He is a teacher by profession.

The electoral vehicle of the influential Macau Federation of Trade Unions’ Union for Development (UPD) only managed to have its first-ranked candidate Kwan Tsui Hang retain her seat. In 2009 the group had won two directly-elected seats.

“I am so shocked about the election result. I knew our group wouldn’t get that many votes but I never expected the gap between different groups’ votes to be so wide,” said Kwan.

University of Macau academic Agnes Lam Iok Fong failed once more in her bid for a seat, winning 5,224 votes, 105 less than four years ago.

Radical “street fighter” Lee Kin Yun’s Association of Macau Activism for Democracy won 923 votes, 218 less than in 2009.

Another 12 lawmakers were indirectly elected by association representatives.

The legislature’s remaining seven members will be appointed by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On in the next few weeks.(macaunews)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

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