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Legislature’s VP says it is inappropriate to discuss universal suffrage for Macau elections

Macau, China, 2 Fev – Macau’s only member of the Standing Committee of National People Congress (NPCSC), Legislative Assembly Vice President Ho Iat Seng said Wednesday  that it was “inappropriate” to have a discussion about universal suffrage in the election of the chief executive and legislators right now as the Macau Basic Law does not […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

Macau, China, 2 Fev – Macau’s only member of the Standing Committee of National People Congress (NPCSC), Legislative Assembly Vice President Ho Iat Seng said Wednesday  that it was “inappropriate” to have a discussion about universal suffrage in the election of the chief executive and legislators right now as the Macau Basic Law does not mention universal suffrage.

According to The Macau Post Daily, Ho, a prominent businessman who entered the legislature through indirect elections in 2009, also said he know of society’s mainstream view through media reports, adding the mainstream opinion was to have two more directly and two more indirectly elected seats in the legislature as well as an increase in the number of members of the Chief Executive Election Committee.

“Personally, I think the current mainstream opinion (on the city’s political development) is that each (both indirectly and directly elected seats) should be increased by two, making a total of four [more] seats,” he said, adding that “this is a direction (of political development) … according to my understanding, civil society has reached a consensus on this.”

He pointed out that the current ratio of lawmakers to the local population was not low, namely when compared to Hong Kong.

Ho also said that the additional two indirectly elected seats could come from the social service or professional sectors.

Ho said that Macau could currently not attain universal suffrage for both the legislative and chief executive elections as the Macau Basic Law in its present wording does not mention it whereas the Hong Kong Basic Law does.

“Under the current framework of the Macau Basic Law, I do not think that it is realistic…I do not think it is appropriate to have a discussion about a thing [universal suffrage] when there will be no result … as there is no such time frame in the Macau Basic Law,” Ho said, adding that only when the Macau Basic Law has been amended can Macau move forward with universal suffrage for either election.

Ho said that it was a “huge project” to have the Macau Basic Law amended and that the Macau government did not have the right to do so unilaterally, pointing out that only the National People’s Congress (NPC) has the right to make any amendments.

According to The Macau Post Daily, Ho said he had heard that the “mainstream” of opinions about the city’s political development was calling for two more directly and two more indirectly elected seats in the Legislative Assembly (AL), as well as an increase in the number of members of the Chief Executive Election Committee. Ho called the political reform solution “two, two”.

Ho stressed that Macau should develop its political system one step at a time.(MacauNews/Politics)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

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