Politics of Macau

Politics of Macau

Politics of Macau takes place in a framework of a political system dominated by the People's Republic of China, an own legislature, the Chief Executive as the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government.

Macau as part of the People's Republic of China

In accordance with Article 31 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, Macau has Special Administrative Region status, which provides constitutional guarantees for implementing the policy of "one country, two systems" and the constitutional basis for enacting the Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region. Although geographically part of Guangdong Province, the Macau Special Administrative Region is directly under the authority of the central government of the People's Republic of China in Beijing, which controls the foreign affairs and defense of Macau but otherwise grants the region "a high degree of authority." The Basic Law took force upon handover of sovereignty from Portugal on December 20, 1999, and is to remain in effect for fifty years (that is, until 2049).

Macau's seven deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) are selected by an electoral conference; they attended their first session of the NPC in Beijing in March 2000. Previously, in December 1999, the NPC Standing Committee approved the membership of the NPC Committee for the Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region, chaired by NPC Vice Chairman Qiao Xiaoyang, for a five-year term. Half of the ten members are from Macau, the others from mainland China. Macau also has representation on the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Executive branch

President of the PRC
Hu Jintao
Communist Party of China
March 2003
Chief Executive
Edmund Ho Hau-wah|
20 December 1999The 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.

In May 1999, 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 20 December 1999. He was elected by the 200-member Chief Executive Selection Committee. Ho, born in Macau in 1955, was the first Chinese person to govern the region since the 1550s. Prior to 20 December 1999, Ho nominated major officials in the new government and carried out other transfer tasks. The executive branch of the Macau government has the following cabinet departments, each headed by a secretary: Administration and Justice, Economic and Financial Affairs, Security, Social Affairs and Culture, and Transport and Public Works. There also are two commissions, Against Corruption and Audit, and a chief public prosecutor. Upon Macau's reversion to China, the executive offices were moved from Macau Government House temporarily to the Banco Tai Fung.

Legislative branch

The legislative organ of the territory is the Legislative Assembly, a 29-member body comprising twelve directly elected members, ten indirectly elected 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. Terms are for four years, with annual sessions running from 15 October to 16 August. There are several standing committees in the assembly that perform the following functions: examination and issuance of reports and statements on projects and proposals of law, on resolutions and deliberations, and on proposals of alteration presented to the Legislative Assembly; examination of petitions submitted to the Legislative Assembly; voting on issues as approved in general by the Legislative Assembly General Meeting; and answering questions raised by the president or the General Meeting.

The last election was held in 2005 and the current Legislative Assembly is chaired by its president, industrialist Susana Chou (曹其真), who is assisted by the vice president, lawyer Lau Cheok Va (劉焯華).

Political parties and elections


The Court of Final Appeal is the court of last resort in the Macau Special Administrative Region.

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.

Political pressure groups and leaders

* Roman Catholic Church (José Lai, bishop)
* Macau Society of Tourism and Entertainment or STDM (Stanley Ho, managing director)
* Union for Democracy Development (Antonio Ng Kuok cheong, leader)

Foreign Affairs

The central government in Beijing controls the foreign affairs of Macau. The Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened its office in Macau on 20 December 1999. A central government agency, the commission interacts with the Macau government in matters of foreign policy. It also processes applications from foreign nations and international organizations wishing to establish consulates or representative offices in Macau. Macau is also authorized to handle some external affairs on its own. These affairs include economic and cultural relations and agreements it concludes with states, regions, and international organizations. In such matters, Macau functions under the name "Macao, China." Macau displays the flag and national emblem of the People's Republic of China but is also authorized to display its own regional flag and emblem. Taiwanese organizations in Macau are allowed to continue operations and are required to abide by the Basic Law.

International organization participation

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

ee also

* Politics of the People's Republic of China


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