Macau gaming labour group activist Cloee Chao Sao Fong (pictured in file photo) confirmed on Thursday that her election ticket has withdrawn from the Legislative Assembly election set to take place in September. Ms Chao’s ticket had featured several other casino workers respectively seeking a directly-elected legislator seat.
The withdrawal followed a decision by Macau’s Electoral Affairs Commission that disqualified Ms Chao and the second candidate on her ticket, Jeremy Lei Man Chao, from running for a seat.
Eight candidates – including Ms Chao – were originally running on a ticket to “advocate casino workers’ rights and benefits”. The term of the next Legislative Assembly will run from 2021 to 2025. The body will have 14 directly-elected legislators, 12 legislators elected from five constituencies representing various economic and social sectors, and seven government-appointed ones.
Ms Chao and Mr Lei are part of a list of 20 candidates competing for a directly-elected legislator seat that have been disqualified, according to an announcement earlier this week by the Electoral Affairs Commission. Without providing specifics, the commission said only that the decision was based on “factual evidence” proving that these candidates “had not upheld Macau’s Basic Law and had not met the requirement of pledging allegiance to the Macau Special Administrative Region”.
During Thursday’s press briefing, Ms Chao argued that both her and Mr Lei should have been allowed by the commission to stand for election, and revealed that her group had decided not to substitute any members of the electoral ticket.
But subsequently, three other members of her ticket decided to withdraw from the election, due to what Ms Chao said was “pressure and personal reasons.” As the number of members on the ticket no longer meets the minimum requirements to run for the direct election, the gaming labour group decided to withdraw from the race, she added.
Ms Chao, known to the public for heading the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, told reporters that her association would remain “steadfast in defending workers’ interests,” even “without the election platform”.
Ms Chao had stood unsuccessfully in the 2017 election. At the time, the ticket involving Ms Chao gained 3,126 votes, representing only 1.8 percent of the total votes cast for that year’s direct election.
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