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Politics of Macau

The chief executive of Macau is appointed by the People's Republic of China's central government after selection by an election committee, whose members are nominated by corporate bodies. The chief executive appears before a cabinet, the Executive Council, of between 7 and 11 members. The term of office of the chief executive is 5 years, and no individual may serve for more than two consecutive terms. The governor has strong policymaking and executive powers similar to those of a president. These powers are, however, limited from above by the central government in Beijing, to whom the governor reports directly, and from below (to a more limited extent) by the legislature. Edmund Ho[?], a community leader and banker, is the first PRC-appointed chief executive of the Macau SAR, having replaced General de Rocha Viera on December 20, 1999.

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[?].

Country name:
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.

Executive branch:
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
elections: NA

Legislative branch: 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:


note: There are no formal political parties, but civic associations are used instead

Political pressure groups and leaders:

International organization participation: CCC, ESCAP (associate), International Maritime Organization (associate), Interpol (subbureau), UNESCO (associate), WMO, WToO (associate), WTrO

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

See also : Macau



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