political revolution, Chinese territory, Legislative power, consecutive terms, overseas territories
In the mid-1970s a political revolution brought democracy to Portugal, Macauís colonial ruler. The new Portuguese government negotiated independence for its overseas territories in Africa and reached an agreement with China on the administration of Macau. Under the 1974 agreement, the status of Macau changed from an overseas territory of Portugal to a Chinese territory under Portuguese administration. In 1976 Portugal passed The Macau Organic Law, which established Macauís Legislative Assembly and gave the territory administrative, economic, and financial autonomy. The new Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region retains many features of the Portuguese administrative system.
The Chinese government appoints Macauís chief executive, who must have been a resident of Macau for at least 20 years. The chief executive serves a five-year term and may not serve more than two consecutive terms. The chief executive is assisted by the Executive Council, a body consisting of 7 to 11 people appointed by the chief executive.
Legislative power is vested in the Legislative Assembly. Under Portuguese rule, eight members of the assembly were elected directly, eight members were elected indirectly through specially designated cultural, economic, and religious groups, and seven members were appointed by the governor, then the executive head of Macau. In the last elections to the Legislative Assembly, in 1996, the three main political groupings were a pro-China group, a pro-business group, and a liberal democratic group. Of the eight directly elected members, the majority were from the pro-business and pro-China groups. Despite the return of Macau to China in 1999, this body will remain in office until October 2001, when the Legislative Assembly will be expanded from 23 to 27 members: 10 elected directly, 10 elected indirectly, and 7 appointed by the chief executive. Legislative members serve four-year terms. As was the case under Portuguese rule, most policy making and direct decision making is accomplished through the executive branch instead of the legislature. There is also an elected city council in Macau that, together with the Legislative Assembly, provides a mechanism for representing the popular viewpoint.
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