HO IAT SENG, the lone contender of the fifth-term chief executive (CE) election of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), was declared winner yesterday.
Ho, if approved by the Central Government, is set to take the helm of the SAR government at the end of this year.
Born in Macao in 1957, Ho comes from a well-off local business family.
From 2004 to 2009, Ho served as a member of the Executive Council of the Macao SAR. In October 2013, he was elected president of the Legislative Assembly of the Macao SAR and was re-elected in October 2017. He has been a deputy of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and a member of the NPC Standing Committee.
In April 2019, Ho announced his decision to run for the election and submitted his resignation to the NPC Standing Committee, which then accepted his resignation.
At the conclusion of the voting, Ho told those present including voters and media workers that he will spare no effort to uphold the principles of “one country, two systems,” “Macao people governing Macao” and “a high degree of autonomy.”
“I will unswervingly carry out my duties and governance in strict accordance with the constitution and the basic law to serve the people, the SAR and the country,” Ho said.
The State Council Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office congratulated Ho for being elected Macao’s chief executive-designate yesterday.
Yang Guang, a spokesperson with the office said the election was held in accordance with the Basic Law and other related laws of the Macao SAR, fully embodying the principles of openness, fairness and equality.
A total of 400 votes were cast by all the members of the CE election committee, among which Ho won 392 votes in favor, seeing a dominant 98 percent winning rate. The CE election management committee, which oversees the election, announced after the voting procedure that seven members cast abstention votes and one vote was declared as invalid.
Macao’s new CE, according to the SAR’s CE election law, is elected by the present 400-member election committee. The members are locals from all walks of social life, including business, political, cultural and religious sectors.
During the prior nomination period, Ho had dominantly acquired 379 endorsements from the election committee members, making the election a one-horse race.
Incumbent CE Chui Sai On extended congratulations yesterday to Ho.
A press release from his office said Chui believes that the would-be successor has the trust of both the Central Government and the Macao people, given his governing capability.
Ho told the press conference following the voting that he would continue the present government’s policy and strive to address social issues including housing and employment.
He expressed gratitude to the election committee, attributing his winning mainly to the agreeing of most voters on his election motto “Unity and Effort, Change and Innovation.”
During the election campaign, Ho and his team visited communities to understand the actual development of the society, and organized over 70 meetings and other activities with social groups, members of the chief executive election committee, and media representatives to hear the concerns of the public, and share his opinions with them.
Local observers say Ho and his government is expected to shoulder responsibilities to push forward the practice of “one country, two systems,” and to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and interests, so as to maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of the Macao SAR.
Ho awaits firstly the confirmation by Macao’s Court of Final Appeal and afterwards the appointment by the Central Government, to officially take the chief executive office, according to the SAR’s Basic Law.
The term of the incumbent CE Chui Sai On will end Dec. 19 this year, and the new CE will start his five-year term on the following day.