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Central govt backs Macao court on election candidate ruling

The Chinese national flag (left) and Macao regional flag are seen hoisted outside the departure terminal of the Hong Kong-Macao-Zhuhai Bridge in Macao on Oct 24, 2018.
(ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)

BEIJING – The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council on Saturday voiced support for the Court of Final Appeal of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) in its ruling on disqualifying some candidates from the region’s Legislative Assembly election.

The court on Saturday afternoon rejected the appeals of three election groups over their candidacy and affirmed the decision by Macao SAR’s Electoral Affairs Commission for the Legislative Assembly Election of disqualifying three candidate lists from running for the upcoming Legislative Assembly election.

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In the ruling, the court said it found the first two candidates of each of the candidate lists had attended activities that, according to the election law of the Legislative Assembly, disqualify them from running in the election. That leaves each of the candidate lists with less than the minimum four qualified candidates required by the law, added the court.

According to the election law of the Legislative Assembly, candidates who are found to have conducted acts that do not uphold the Basic Law of the Macao SAR or do not pledge allegiance to the Macao SAR are not qualified to run in the election.  

“The ruling is based on a solid legal foundation and facts,” the office said in a statement expressing its strong support for the ruling.

The office said that the Macao SAR Basic Law stipulates that members of the Legislative Assembly should uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Macao SAR.

Any anti-China disruptor must never be allowed to make his or her way into the SAR’s administrative structure and become an administrator by any means, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said

In rejecting the appeals of the candidates, who were disqualified for failing to meet the requirement of the law, and upholding the decision of the Electoral Affairs Commission for the Legislative Assembly Election, the court has safeguarded the constitutional order in the SAR as established by the Constitution and the Basic Law, it said.

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The statement noted that upholding the “patriots administering Macao” principle is fundamental to ensuring the full and faithful implementation of “one country, two systems.”

Any anti-China disruptor must never be allowed to make his or her way into the SAR’s administrative structure and become an administrator by any means, the statement reads, adding that this is an iron rule that should be thoroughly implemented in the eligibility review of the candidates.

The office expressed confidence in the success of the Legislative Assembly election and the steady and sustained implementation of “one country, two systems” in Macao.  

The Macao SAR government and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR also voiced support for the court ruling.

The SAR government stated that the decision by the commission to disqualify certain candidates from running in the election after examining their qualifications had gained affirmation from the judicial authority.

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It added that it respects and supports the court ruling and will continue to comprehensively and accurately implement the “one country, two systems” principle, fully guarantee the freedom of speech and the right to know and supervise government administration as enjoyed by Macao residents in accordance with the law, support the Electoral Affairs Commission for the Legislative Assembly Election to perform its duties in accordance with the law, and ensure that the Legislative Assembly election goes smoothly.

In a separate statement, the liaison office said in a statement that “patriots administering Macao” is the core of the “one country, two systems” principle in the Macao SAR, which means only patriots can be allowed into the SAR’s governance structure.

This is the “iron” bottom line of “patriots administering Macao,” the office stressed.

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