The legislative organ of the territory is the legislative Assembly, a 23-member body comprising eight directly elected members, eight appointed members representing functional constituencies and seven members appointed by the chief executive. The Legislative Assembly is responsible for general lawmaking, including taxation, the passing of the budget and socioeconomic legislation. In the last election, held in September 1996, pro-business groups won four of the eight directly elected seats, while pro-China parties dropped from four seats to three and the number of pro-democracy representatives fell from two seats to one. Unlike in Hong Kong, the legislature's term straddled the handover of sovereignty to the PRC, and has even been extended from its normal 4-year term until October 2001. The city of Macau and the islands of Taipa[?] and Coloane[?] each have a municipal council.
The legal system is based largely on Portuguese law. The territory has its own independent judicial system, with a high court. Judges are selected by a committee and appointed by the chief executive. Foreign judges may serve on the courts. In July 1999 the chief executive appointed a seven-person committee to select judges for the SAR. Twenty-four judges were recommended by the committee and were then appointed by Mr. Ho. Included are three judges who serve on the Macau SAR's highest court, the Court of Final Appeal (CFA): 39-year-old Sam Hou Fai[?] (who will be chief justice), 32-year-old Chu Kin[?], and the 46-year-old Viriato Manuel Pinhiero de Lima[?].
conventional long form: Macau Special Administrative Region
conventional short form: Macau
local long form: Aomen Tebie Xingzhengqu (Chinese); Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau (Portuguese)
local short form: Aomen (Chinese); Macau (Portuguese)
Data code: MC
Dependency status: Special administrative region of the People's Republic of China
Government type: NA
Administrative divisions: none (special administrative region of the PRC)
Independence: none (special administrative region of the PRC)
National holiday: National Day, 1-2 October; note - 20 December 1999 is celebrated as Macau Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
Constitution: Basic Law, approved in March 1993 by the PRC National People's Congress, is Macau's "mini-constitution"
Legal system: based on Portuguese civil law system
Suffrage: direct election 18 years of age, universal for permanent residents living in Macau for the past seven years; indirect election limited to organizations registered as "corporate voters" (257 are currently registered) and a 300-member Election Committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central government bodies.
chief of state: President of the PRC Hu Jintao (since March 2003)
head of government: Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah (since 20 December 1999)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of all five government secretaries, three legislators, and two businessmen
Unicameral Legislative Council or LEGCO (23 seats; 8 elected by popular vote, 8 by indirect vote, and 7 appointed by the chief executive; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 22 September 1996 (next to be held by 15 October 2001)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APPEM 2, UNIPRO 2, CODEM 1, UDM 1, UPD 1, ANMD 1
Judicial branch: The Court of Final Appeal in the Macau Special Administrative Region
Political parties and leaders: The following is a listing of those associations that participated in the last legislative elections:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (special administrative region of the PRC)
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US has no offices in Macau, and US interests are monitored by the US Consulate General in Hong Kong
Flag description: light green with a lotus flower above a stylized bridge and water in white, beneath an arc of five gold, five-pointed stars: one large in center of arc and four smaller