sexta-feira, 3 de julho de 2009

Falta de democracia

Lack of democracy main gripe of those who shunned Chui

Fox Yi Hu
South China Morning Post
July 03, 2009

The handful of voters for Macau's chief executive who defied a show of unity by not nominating Fernando Chui Sai-on have cited reasons ranging from a lack of democracy to a lack of time.

Dr Chui, the former culture minister, shut out potential opponents last month by winning over 286 of the privileged circle of 300 voters who form Macau's Election Committee. The Election Committee members will cast their ballots on July 26, and Dr Chui will need at least 151 votes to become Macau's new leader.

A candidate needs at least 50 nominations from committee members to run in the race.

A carefully manipulated exercise, Dr Chui's landslide nomination victory surprised few locals, but his failure to put the icing on the cake with an extra 14 nominations has left people guessing.

Five years ago, Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah, who was seeking a second term, secured 297 nominations to become the sole contender for the top job.

Wong Cheong-nam, a columnist and Health Bureau technician, said he withheld his nomination because he was frustrated by the lack of real competition in the race - despite receiving a phone call from Dr Chui requesting his support.

"There's no room for selection and I am extremely unhappy about it," Mr Wong said. "We should at least have some form of democracy to satisfy Macau people."

He said he was puzzled that 286 voters had nominated Dr Chui before hearing about his policies.

"He hasn't even published his election platform," Mr Wong said.

Dr Chui's election office said it had drafted an election platform and was finalising it.

Mr Wong said that if Dr Chui wanted his vote, the former minister would have to first publicly declare his assets in a show of resolve to build clean government.

"With big family businesses, it's hard for him to avoid conflict of interest," Mr Wong said.

Dr Chui comes from one of Macau's ruling clans. His late uncle, Chui Tak-kei, was a staunch Communist Party supporter when Macau was under Portuguese rule.

An influential family background is seen as vital to winning over the various interest groups in the special administrative region, where power and connections count for a great deal. Gaming mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun has declared his support for Dr Chui's candidacy.

Paul Pun Chi-meng, director of Caritas Macau, said he had withheld his nomination because he knew Dr Chui would gather enough nominations and because he hoped to see more than one candidate.

"Most Macau people have no right to vote in the election," Mr Pun said. "I don't want to see just one person taking part in the race."

Rather than rallying behind Dr Chui, Mr Pun said he wanted to maintain a neutral role so he could continue to critique the government's work in future.

Benny Lam Wai-hou, boss of Chi Fu Lighting & Sound Technology, said he did not nominate Dr Chui because he was on a business trip.

"I agreed to nominate him but I went on a business trip and couldn't do it," Mr Lam said. He said he liked Dr Chui's political ideas and believed the former minister would build a clean and efficient government.

The Macau Daily News said three other voters - Ho Pui-fan, Choi Tat-meng and Lam In-nie - were also out of town during the vote.

Legislator Jose Coutinho, who represents low-ranking civil servants, said Dr Chui had not asked him for his support and so he did not consider nominating the former minister.

Tam Pak-yip, brother of Finance Minister Francis Tam Pak-yuen, did not nominate Dr Chui. Earlier this year, the finance minister was seen as a contender for Macau's top job.

Loi Keong-kuong, owner of the Rio Casino, also did not nominate Dr Chui.

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