Macau has disqualified 21 democratic candidates from running in its upcoming legislative elections.

Electoral affairs officials say they were considered ineligible to run because they failed to uphold the Basic Law and bear allegiance to Hong Kong’s sister SAR. The 21 legislative hopefuls, from six electoral tickets, were notified of their disqualification on Friday.

Macau flag raising ceremony
A flag raising ceremony in Macau after the Handover. Photo: Macau government.

They include members of the Associação de Próspero Macau Democrático, Associação de Novo Macau and Associação do Novo Progresso de Macau.

Pro-democracy group New Macau Progressive group confirmed on Facebook that five of their candidates were disqualified.

“We have found evidence that these candidates did not uphold the Macau SAR’s Basic Law,” President of the Electoral Affairs Commission Tong Hio-fong said on Friday.

Police and security

The president added that the commission had investigated materials relating to the candidates provided by the police and Macau’s Secretariat for Security before coming to their decision.

The parties will have a right of reply on Monday, and also have the option to swap their nominated candidate. They can also appeal the commission’s decision in court.

Tong declined to confirm the identity of the disqualified candidates, saying further information would be released in due course.

President of the Electoral Affairs Commission Tong Hio-fong. Photo: i-Cable Screenshot.

The president also sidestepped questions as to why some candidates had not been disqualified in previous terms: “This commission is only concerned with the current legislative assembly elections,” he said.

A seventh group was disqualified because one member failed citizenship requirements.

Legislative Assembly elections in the gambling hub are set to take place on September 12. Its legislature is comprised of 14 directly-elected and 12 indirectly elected seats.

The opposition has also been purged in Hong Kong – most pro-democracy lawmakers are currently behind bars, in exile, or have quit politics.

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Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.