The Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Commission (CAEAL) rejected the formal objections from three direct-election Lists whose candidates were disqualified for failing to support the Macao Basic Law or being disloyal to Macao.
The lists have until the end of today to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) against the commission’s final decision.
The three “pro-democracy” Lists, which lodged their objections late last week t, are the Democratic Prosperous Macao Association List, led by high-profile political activist Scott Chiang Meng Hin and incumbent lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong; the New Macao Progressives List headed by incumbent legislator Sulu Sou Ka Kou; and the New Macao Progressive Association list headed by former lawmaker Paul Chan Wai Chi.
On 7 July, the commission announced the preliminary acceptance of 159 candidates from 19 Lists who would be standing for the legislature’s 14 directly-elected seats on 12 September.
The commission announced on 9 July that it had disqualified 21 candidates from six direct-election Lists for failing to support the Macao Basic Law or having been disloyal to the SAR.
The commission said that even though all the candidates had formally declared their support and loyalty when they submitted their candidacies, the commission’s qualification review process, based on information supplied by the police, found evidence to the contrary.
The 21 disqualified candidates comprise all 15 candidates from the three “pro-democracy” Lists, two candidates from the Gaming New Macao List headed by gaming staff unionist Cloee Chao Sao Fong, two candidates from the Ou Mun Kong I (“Macao Righteousness”) List headed by veteran labour rights activist Lee Sio Kuan, and two candidates from the Macao Victory List.
All the Lists told the commission on Monday last week – the deadline for the relevant lists to replace disqualified candidates – that they had not failed to support the Macao Basic Law and had not been disloyal to the SAR and consequently would not replace their candidates.
The Macao Victory list requested permission from the commission to be allowed to replace one of its two disqualified candidates.
On Tuesday last week, the commission decided to stick to its decision to disqualify all 15 candidates from the three “pro-democracy” Lists.
The same day, the commission decided to uphold its decision to disqualify the numbers one and two candidates of the Gaming New Macao list – Cloee Chao and Lei Man Chao. As the list had less than four candidates after Chao and Lei had been disqualified, the commission rejected the acceptance of the whole list.
The number of candidates disqualified for inadequate support or disloyalty has since been reduced from 21 to 20 because one of the six electoral Lists affected by the individual disqualifications had requested to be allowed to replace a disqualified candidate.
On Tuesday last week, the commission disqualified the number-one candidate of the Macao Victory List, Lo Chun Seng. As the List then had less than four candidates, the commission rejected the entire list.
The commission adhered to its decision to disqualify the first and second-ranked candidates of the Ou Mun Kong I list – Lee and Kuong Kai Nang. The commission has accepted the List as it still had four candidates after Lee and Kuong were disqualified.
Consequently, the commission rejected the acceptance of five of the six Lists in their entirety, namely the three “pro-democracy” Lists, the Gaming New Macao List and the Macao Victory List, while the Ou Mun Kong I List has been accepted.
The commission announced on Tuesday last week that 128 candidates fielded by 14 direct-election Lists have been accepted, a 19.5-percent reduction from the provisionally accepted 159 candidates from 19 Lists previously.
The Macao Victory List announced that it had decided to withdraw from the election so it would not lodge an objection to the commission’s decision to disqualify one of its candidates.
Later last week, the Gaming New Macao List – which had initially fielded eight candidates – announced that it had less than four candidates after Cloee Chao and Lei had been disqualified because three candidates had decided to quit the list due to “pressure” by their respective family members. Consequently, the whole List, Chao and Lei decided to withdraw from the election so did not lodge an objection to the commission’s decision of disqualifying two of its candidates.
Disqualified candidates had the right to lodge their objections to the commission’s decision to disqualify them by Friday last week at the latest. All the three “pro-democracy” Lists submitted their respective objections by that day.
Representatives of two of the three “pro-democracy” Lists said last night that they would appeal to the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) today.
According to government broadcaster TDM, Scott Chiang’s list will be represented by local Portuguese lawyer Jorge Meneses.
Sulu Sou’s List said yesterday evening that the group would “soon” decide whether to file an appeal.
Macao’s top court has six days to decide on the appeals.