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By-election budget set at 3.28 million patacas: govt

The overall budget for November’s by-election of an indirectly-elected seat in the Legislative Assembly has been set at 3.28 million patacas.

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Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Commission Elections (CAEAL) President Tong Hio Fong announced on Wednesday that the overall budget for November’s by-election of an indirectly-elected seat in the Legislative Assembly (AL) has been set at 3.28 million patacas.

Tong spoke to reporters after a regular meeting of the commission at the Public Administration Building in Rua do Campo.

Tong said that based on information provided by the CAEAL secretariat, the expenditure of the by-election would mainly result from various electoral tasks, including the printing of posters, ballots and candidacy platforms and the broadcasting of campaign spots by local TV and radio channels, as well as the setting-up of polling stations and personnel training.

Tong pointed out that the overall budget for the 6th Legislative Assembly (AL) elections in 2017 exceeded 55 million patacas, adding that the upcoming by-election would cost just about 6 per cent of it.

While in the 2017 election 14 directly- and 12 indirectly-elected seats were up for grabs, in November’s by-election just one seat is at stake.

Asked by reporters about the fact that the election campaign accounts of some candidates who competed in the 2017 elections ended up with a surplus, Tong noted that based on Wednesday’s meeting, the commission believes that the current law does not address the issue.

According to the Macau Post Daily, Tong pointed out that the commission is considering drafting “election instructions” that would require all candidates to “donate their [campaign accounts] surplus to charities”, adding that the commission would have more discussions on the issue.

The by-election on November 24 has been triggered by the recent resignation of Ho Iat Seng, an indirectly-elected lawmaker representing the industrial, commercial and financial sector. Ho gave up his seat after he decided to run in the chief executive election on August 25.

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