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 defence of Macau but otherwise grants the region "a high degree of authority." The Basic Law took force upon handover of sovereignty from Portugal on 20 December 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.

The headquarters of Macau Government

Head of Government

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Chief of State (PRC President) Xi Jinping Communist Party of China 14 March 2013
Chief of Central Government (PRC Premier) Li Keqiang Communist Party of China 15 March 2012
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On Non-partisan 20 December 2009

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.

In May 1999, Edmund Ho, a community leader and banker, was 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. Ho was re-elected for a second term in 2004 and was succeeded by Fernando Chui in 2009.

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.


The Executive Council decides on matters of policy, the introduction of bills to the Legislative Assembly of Macau and the drafting of subordinate legislation. The Council consists of 11 members including the Chief Executive.


The cabinet consists of 5 secretariats of departments led by a Chief:

Principal officials

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

For other political parties, see List of political parties in Macau. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Macau.
 Summary of the 20 September 2009 Legislative Assembly of Macau election results
Political affiliation
Popular votes
% of Votes
Change in
% of vote
Net change
in seats
4 Prosperous Democratic Macau Association[nb 1]
Associação de Próspero Macau Democrático (民主昌澳門)
16,424 11.58 N/A 2 +2
2 New Hope
Nova Esperança (新希望)
12,908 9.10 +1.11 1 ±0
15 New Democratic Macau Association[nb 1]
Associação de Próspero Macau Democrático (民主昌澳門)
11,024 7.77 -11.03 1 -1
6 Civil Watch
Observatório Cívico (公民監察)
5,329 3.76 N/A 0 ±0
9 Activism for Democracy Association
Associação de Activismo para a Democracia (民主起動)
1,141 0.80 N/A 0 ±0
14 Plural Voices – Peoples of Macau
Voz Plural - Gentes de Macau (齊聲建澳門)
905 0.64 N/A 0 ±0
11 Democratic Society Alliance
Aliança da Democracia de Sociedade (社會民主陣線)
256 0.18 N/A 0 ±0
Total for Pro-democratic camp 47,987 33.83 +5.08 4 +1
7 United Citizens Association of Macau
Associação dos Cidadãos Unidos de Macau (澳門民聯協進會)
17,014 12.00 -4.58 2 ±0
10 New Union for Macau’s Development
Nova União para Desenvolvimento de Macau (澳門發展新連盟)
14,099 9.94 +0.61 1 ±0
1 Macau-Guangdong Union
União Macau-Guangdong (澳粵同盟)
10,348 7.30 N/A 1 +1
5 Alliance for Change
Aliança Pr'a Mudança (改革創新聯盟)
7,857 5.54 N/A 1 +1
3 Union for the Progress and Development
União Para o Progresso e Desenvolvimento (同力建設聯盟)
5,389 3.80 N/A 0 ±0
12 Union for Development
União Para O Desenvolvimento (同心協進會)
22,098 14.88 +1.59 2 ±0
13 Union for Promoting Progress
União Promotora Para o Progresso (群力促進會)
14,044 9.90 +0.30 1 -1
16 Association for Helping the Community and Engagement with the People
Associação de Apoio à Comunidade e Proximidade do Povo (親民愛群協會)
2,334 1.65 -0.71 0 ±0
8 "Social Justice" Team
Equipa de "Justiça Social" (社會公義)
1,627 1.15 N/A 0 ±0
Total for Pro-establishment camp 93,810 66.16 -5.10 8 -1
Total and Turnout 149,006 59.91 +1.52 12 ±0
Valid votes 141,797 95.16
Invalid votes 6,498 4.36
Blank votes 711 0.48
Eligible voters 248,708
Functional constituencies and appointed members
Macau Business Interest Union
União dos Interesses Empresariais de Macau
(澳門僱主利益聯會) for business
4 ±0
Employees Association Joint Candidature Commission
Comissão Conjunta da Candidatura das Associações de Empregados
(僱員團體聯合) for labor
2 ±0
Macau professional Interest Union
União dos Interesses Profissionais de Macau
(澳門專業利益聯會) for professionals
2 ±0
Excellent Culture and Sports Union Association
Associação União Cultural e Desportiva Excelente
(優裕文康聯合會) for welfare, culture, education and sport
2 ±0
Members appointed by the Chief Executive 7 ±0


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

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 organisations wishing to establish consulates or representative offices in Macau. Macau is also authorised to handle some external affairs on its own. These affairs include economic and cultural relations and agreements it concludes with states, regions, and international organisations. 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 authorised to display its own regional flag and emblem. Taiwanese organisations in Macau are allowed to continue operations and are required to abide by the Basic Law.

International organisation participation

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

See also


    1. 1 2 These are the two electoral lists of New Macau Association
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