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Sou wants legal change to avoid single CE candidacy

Lawmaker-cum-activist Sulu Sou Ka Hou told a press conference Tuesday that he has proposed a bill to amend the Chief Executive (CE) Election Law with the aim of avoiding a single CE candidacy, and in the case that there is only one candidate, the nomination process should be restarted until there are at least two candidates to choose from.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:45 am

Lawmaker-cum-activist Sulu Sou Ka Hou told a press conference Tuesday that he has proposed a bill to amend the Chief Executive (CE) Election Law with the aim of avoiding a single CE candidacy, and in the case that there is only one candidate, the nomination process should be restarted until there are at least two candidates to choose from.

The non-establishment New Macau Association (NMA) held a press conference at Sou office in Rua do Tarrafeiro about his bill to amend the CE Election Law.

Sou said that except for the first CE election which had two candidates, there was only one candidate in the three following CE elections, a situation that was “uncommon” worldwide.

Therefore, Sou said, he proposed a bill in January aimed at avoiding a single CE candidacy by amending the CE Election Law.

His bill proposes that the election for the highest post of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) must have at least two candidates, otherwise the nomination process should be restarted until there are at least two rival candidates.

Legislative Assembly (AL) President Ho Iat Seng rejected Sou’s bill on February 15 by insisting that according to the Macau Basic Law lawmakers cannot propose legal changes to Macau’s political structure.

Consequently, according to Ho, Sou’s bill would violate the Basic Law and that’s why he rejected the bill as only the government could propose changes to Macau’s political structure.

According to the unofficial English version of Article 75 of the Basic Law, lawmakers only can introduce “bills which do not relate to public expenditure or political structure or the operation of the government.”

Sou said he disagreed with Ho’s refusal to consider his bill, claiming that the Basic Law does not forbid lawmakers to present bills or amendments to any laws.

Sou also insisted during yesterday’s press conference that the legislative intent of the Basic Law does not forbid legislators to present any initiatives to create new laws or to review the CE Election Law.

According to Sou, amending the nomination process for CE candidates should not be “mixed up” with changes to Macau’s political structure.

Sou said that after Ho had rejected his bill he appealed to the legislature’s executive committee on February 27. However, according to Sou, the four-member executive committee, which is chaired is Ho, rejected his appeal on March 19.

He repeated his appeal again during a plenary session in the legislatures’ hemicycle earlier this month.

Sou’s appeal will be submitted to a vote by his peers in during a plenary session next Tuesday. Observers expect his appeal to be roundly rejected.

The CE election is slated to be held in August.

Meanwhile, Sou also said since Ho announced earlier this year that he was “actively” considering taking part in this year’s CE election, he had suggested to the legislature’s executive committee that Ho recuse himself by not participating in any legal issues related to the CE Election Law, in order to avoid a conflict of interest.

Sou admitted that he expected his suggestion to fail as Ho was scheduled to preside over next Tuesday’s plenum about his bill.

Ho is Macau’s only member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).(Macaunews)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:45 am

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