On Friday, 21 candidates for the local parliament were rejected. This Monday, Macau’s electoral commission told candidates for elections in the territory that they must defend “the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party”, under penalty of being excluded.
Macau’s electoral commission said that candidates for elections in the territory must defend “the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party“, under penalty of being excluded, after failing, on Friday, 21 contestants for the local parliament.
At a press conference, the chairman of the Electoral Affairs Committee of the Legislative Assembly (CAEAL) of Macau, Tong Hio Fong, released seven criteria used to decide whether candidates are eligible, but refused to reveal which violations the 21 are accused of. candidates excluded from the September 12 elections to the Legislative Assembly (AL), the majority pro-democracy.
The responsible of CAEAL only said that they were collected evidence against the excluded candidates. “All information provided by CPSP [Corpo de Polícia de Segurança Pública] they were obtained through public occasions (…), perhaps through photographs or comments already available or posted on the internet”, he said.
CAEAL justified the exclusion of candidates with the Electoral Law, which states that “they are not eligible those who refuse to declare defending the Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region [RAEM] (…) and who are faithful to the Macao SAR”, but also those who, “by proven facts, no [a] defend or not [lhe] are faithful“.
“The Electoral Law, in addition to requiring them to sign the proper declaration, also requires that they have not practiced acts of non-defence and non-fidelity”, added CAEAL, in a statement, stressing that it is necessary to assess whether the candidates “ sincerely defend” the territory.
In the note, the electoral commission states that it “prepared” seven criteria to determine the eligibility of candidates, including the obligation to “safeguard the constitutional order” and the prohibition of “activities that endanger sovereignty [e] national security”.
The criteria also include the prohibition of “denigrating the People’s Republic of China and the Macau Special Administrative Region”, through acts, “in bad faith”, of “attack, denigration [ou] slander” to Beijing, the Macao SAR or the legislation of the territory.
CAEAL also invoked an amendment to the Chinese Constitution, on March 11, 2018, which added that “the Chinese Communist Party leadership is the essence of socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
For this reason, the electoral commission concluded that “the defense of the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party [PCC]” is “also a very important basis for deciding whether participants/candidates are eligible” for “this year’s elections”.
Attacks on the CCP and comments with the intention of overthrowing it “are enough to constitute insincere support” for the MSAR, the official said.
In the note, the commission also defended that “it is necessary to constantly persist in the principle ‘Macau ruled by patriots'”.
Fifteen candidates from the three pro-democracy lists in the territory were excluded on Friday from running for the local parliament, for not being “faithful” to Macau.
The New Macau Association, led by pro-democratic deputy Sulu Sou, the Prospero Democratic Macau, by Ng Kuok Cheong, led by ex-deputy Scott Chiang, and the Novo Macau Progress Association, headed by another pro-deputy. Democrat Paul Chan Wai Chi were excluded from the September elections.
“Candidates who do not defend the Basic Law [miniconstituição] the Macao SAR or are not faithful to the Macao SAR (…) they do not have eligibility”, said the president of CAEAL, when announcing the decision.
The lists will have to replace candidates or challenge the decision, he added.
On Saturday, three lists from the Democratic camp held a press conference in which they promised to challenge the decision and if necessary take the case to the Court of Final Appeal.
The AL is made up of 33 deputies, 14 of which are elected by universal suffrage and 12 by indirect suffrage (through associations), in addition to seven later appointed by the chief executive.
On March 15, the head of the Macau Government stated that he would “commit all efforts” to implement the principle “Macao ruled by patriots”, days after China passed a controversial electoral reform to guarantee “patriotism” in Hong Kong.
The statements came after China’s highest legislative body approved an electoral reform proposal in Hong Kong, to bolster Beijing’s presence in the semi-autonomous city and curb pro-democracy opposition through increased scrutiny of candidates for legislative elections in the territory. .
The transfer of Macau’s administration took place at the end of 1999, two years after China regained sovereignty over Hong Kong.
In both cases, Beijing applied the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, which allowed the two regions to maintain the capitalist system and way of life, including rights and freedoms enjoyed by their respective populations.