Macau’s pro-democracy camp has lost further ground in the territory’s legislature, according to preliminary results yesterday from an election marred by low turnout and a ban on “disloyal” candidates.
Authorities in Macau had disqualified 21 candidates — most of them from the pro-democracy camp — from Sunday’s election on national security grounds.
They were accused of disloyalty to China after they commemorated the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre and honored rights advocate and Beijing critic and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波).
Photo: AP / Macau Government Information Bureau
Of the 33 seats in Macau’s Legislative Assembly, 14 are directly elected and a preliminary count yesterday showed that the pro-democracy camp won just two — half of what it got in the previous vote in 2017.
The other 19 lawmakers include 12 indirectly chosen from professional sectors and seven appointed by Macau’s chief executive.
The general turnout of just over 42 percent was the lowest since the territory was handed over to China in 1999, but authorities dismissed suggestions that it was caused by the disqualification of pro-democracy candidates.
Macau Electoral Affairs Committee President Tong Hio Fong (唐曉峰) blamed the low level of participation on COVID-19 restrictions, hot weather and heavy rain.
The disqualification of pro-democracy candidates in Macau followed similar rulings in Hong Kong, where authorities have moved to crush dissent and the territory’s pro-democracy movement with a National Security Law and a radical electoral overhaul.
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