HONG KONG: Macau re-elected its incumbent leader in an unchallenged contest yesterday as the gambling hub faces growing calls for democracy amid anger over deteriorating living conditions and government accountability.
The booming city’s sole chief executive candidate Fernando Chui was voted in for a second term by 95 percent of a 400-strong pro-Beijing electoral committee, in a foregone contest which democracy advocates have called “ridiculous”.
“Chui was elected by 380 votes,” a Macau government spokesman said. There were 13 blank and three invalid ballots among the 396 committee members who voted. More than a dozen people marched and bowed in protest outside the venue where the vote was taking place. “Every time we bow down we would like it to be a reminder that Macau people have no choice (in this election),” protester Sulu Sou told reporters.
The former Portuguese colony has grown wealthy off the proceeds of its gambling industry, which rakes in enormous sums of cash, predominantly from wealthy Chinese mainlanders.
Compared to its more vocal neighbour Hong Kong, Macau has traditionally been politically apathetic as long as business continues to boom.
But there have been signs of political discontent as concerns grow over the city’s future and how it will be decided.