Twenty-three lawmakers stood in an election by secret ballot held by the Legislative Assembly (AL) during a plenary session yesterday to choose the 22 representatives for the Chief Executive Election Committee.
Veteran directly-elected lawmaker José Maria Pereira Coutinho failed in his re-election bid for the 400-member committee, which is tasked with electing the chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) every five years.
A total of 344 seats of the Chief Executive Election Committee are chosen via an election which normally takes place a few months before the respective chief executive election, which is customarily held in August.
Of the other 56 members of the Chief Executive Election Committee, 12 local deputies to the National People’s Congress (NPC) are ex officio members. The others comprise 22 representatives chosen from among the city’s lawmakers, 14 representatives chosen from among local deputies to the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, two representatives chosen from among members of the city’s municipal organs (Municipal Affairs Bureau/IAM), and six members from religious circles.
Except for the 12 local NPC deputies who are ex officio members of the Chief Executive Election Committee, the other 56 are chosen from among their respective peers.
During yesterday’s plenary session, AL President Kou Hoi In noted that as the legislature now has new members after September’s direct and indirect elections, the 22 representatives on the Chief Executive Election Committee needed to be chosen again.
Kou said that as 23 lawmakers had said that they wanted to join the Chief Executive Election Committee, the Legislative Assembly needed to hold a plenary session to choose the 22 representatives.
Following the plenary session, Coutinho said that he did not know why he had failed in his bid to become a member of the Chief Executive Election Committee.
The last chief executive election was held in August in 2019. Earlier that year, only 22 lawmakers applied to become members of the Chief Executive Election Committee, so the AL did not need to hold an election to choose the 22 representatives, of whom Coutinho was one.
Coutinho’s running mate Che Sai Wang was elected one of the 22 representatives on the Chief Executive Election Committee in yesterday’s election, with the lowest number of votes, 19.
Both Coutinho and Che ran on the New Hope ticket. Coutinho, a retired civil servant, heads the Macao Civil Servants Association, while Che, who is on leave from the civil service due to his status as a lawmaker, is one of the association’s board members, The Macau Post Daily reported.