Ho Iat Seng, until recently president of Macau’s Legislative Assembly, is to run unopposed for the role of chief executive, the city’s top job. He received a total of 378 nominations drawn from among those people that are members of the Chief Executive Election Committee, making it impossible for anyone else to garner the necessary support to put themselves forward.
Mr Ho (pictured) submitted on Monday his candidacy nomination form.
The selection of Macau’s chief executive post is done not by direct voting among the adult population, but by a 400-strong election committee featuring representatives of various sectoral interests including industry, commerce, finance, labour and education.
According to the Chief Executive Election Law, individuals interested in standing as a candidate for the post of chief executive must receive at least 66 nominations drawn from among those people that are members of the Chief Executive Election Committee.
As Mr Ho received a total of 379 nominations, that means any other potential candidate could only get at most 21 nominations.
The Chief Executive Election Committee will now officially assess whether Mr Ho meets the criteria for eligibility.
The poll process to choose the city’s next leader will be on August 25.
Fernando Chui Sai On, the current Chief Executive, will complete his second and final five-year term in December. His successor will take office on December 20.
Would-be chief executive Mr Ho is 61 and was born in Macau. He is no relation of either Edmund Ho Hau Wah, the first Macau chief executive following the city’s handover from Portuguese administration in 1999, or of Stanley Ho Hung Sun, the former monopolist of Macau casino business.
Mr Ho Iat Seng – a prominent Macau businessman – also has no direct links with the city’s dominant casino industry.
He was Legislative Assembly president from October 2013 until earlier this month, when he stepped down in order to prepare his bid for chief executive. From 2004 to 2009 he was a member of the city’s Executive Council, an advisory body that supports the work of the city’s chief executive.
The prospective candidate has long-running ties with political structures in mainland China. He served as a member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) from 2000 until April this year, when the Standing Committee approved Mr Ho’s request to resign from his NPC role, a move that opened the way for his candidacy for the top Macau job.
The former Legislative Assembly president has yet to present his official political programme. He has mentioned he will do so on August 10.
An important task of the next chief executive will be to handle the retender process for Macau gaming rights. The current six licences expire in 2022.
During a June press conference, the prospective candidate declined to comment in detail when asked by the media about the future direction for the city’s gaming industry. He limited his commentary to saying: “I think the only way it should go forward is to be kept in healthy development.”
(Updated on Jun 26, 4pm)
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