sábado, 5 de setembro de 2009

A pré-campanha (a tal que era proibida...)

Macau candidates find way to beat ban on campaigning

Fox Yi Hu
South China Morning Post
September 4, 2009

The battle for 12 legislative seats is brewing in Macau with candidates stealing a march on campaigning despite a canvassing ban.

A two-week campaigning period for the September 20 election begins tomorrow. Macau's legislative election law forbids candidates campaigning beforehand. But some candidates have been using banners, billboards, periodicals and free dinners to attract potential voters.

Political commentator Professor Larry So Man-yum said almost every one of the 16 groups of candidates had been taking advantage of legal grey areas to campaign.

"Given the grey areas in the election law, almost everyone is stealing a march," said So, who teaches public administration at Macau Polytechnic Institute. "Those commanding a lot of resources have used billboards or periodicals for the purpose, while others have held seminars in the name of academic discussion or organised `street protests'."

The ban on campaigning effectively began in mid-July when the names of 16 teams of candidates were confirmed and published.

A billboard and banners promoting candidates Chan Meng-kam and Ung Choi-kun have been put up on a building on Rua do Almirante Sergio next to the inner harbour.

The billboard, about six metres long and two metres wide, has photos of Chan and Ung, who were legislators from 2005 to this year, along with a slogan "Work heartedly for Macau".

Two banners hung from on the right side of the billboard yesterday, with one saying, "Please vote for Team No7".

The offices of Chan and Ung said the billboard had been there since they became lawmakers in 2005, and promoted them as lawmakers rather than as election candidates. A huge photo of candidate Kuan Vai-lam, a property developer, was displayed earlier this week on South Hill, a residential building under construction on Avenida do Ouvidor Arriaga. But it had been replaced by a vertical banner of about 10 metres long saying "Developer: Kuan Vai-lam" as of yesterday.

Next to it was another vertical banner displaying the name of Lai Cho-wai, a running-mate of Kuan.

The General Union of Neighbourhood Associations was accused of violating the ban on campaigning. Its periodical featuring candidates from the union was published in July and some copies were distributed last month in Macau.

The New Macau Association, led by democrats and candidates Ng Kuok-cheong and Au Kam-san, last month sent a letter to Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah, accusing the union of breaching the ban.

Io Hong-meng, president of the union, said the articles that had been published previously by local media and did not violate the ban.

Government-funded dinner parties to mark both the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China and the 10th anniversary of Macau's handover to China prompted complaints.

Many of the events, known as a "double celebration", are parties where residents, who enjoy free dinners and supermarket coupons from lucky draws, are asked to support some candidates.

The 2005 legislative poll was plagued with scandals from minor bribes to direct vote-buying.

The government move to scrap the voter permits for this month's election is expected to thwart vote buying. Registered voters would be allowed to use their Macau identity cards when casting their ballots, it said last month.

Sem comentários: