A New Hope

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Incumbent legislators José Pereira Coutinho and Leong Veng Chai leading the New Hope (Macau) group submitted their candidate list at the Public Administrative Building yesterday, having gathered 500 signatures for nominations from voters.
Coutinho revealed that 11 candidates are on the list, with Rita Santos trustee.
The group lists Coutinho and Leong second, while Monica Tan Si Wan and Gilberto Camacho are third and fourth, respectively.
Camacho previously participated in the 2013 election.
Legislator Coutinho said the group has invited more young people to take part in this year’s election.
“We hope to share our own experiences in these coming years to allow more young blood to enter the Legislative Assembly,” said Coutinho, adding that the absence of a district council in Macau would pose great challenges for young people interested in getting involved in the political field.
Coutinho perceived that young people need time to train and get more experience in order to note and understand the demands of society.
“Hence, we hope to put more attention on education, especially the teaching of politics,” said the legislator.
Coutinho pointed in particular to the demand for higher transparency in the works of the Legislative Assembly (AL), suggesting that the current six groups in the AL “should open their doors to the media, to students and citizens in order to allow the public to know how these six groups deliberate [upon] a bill”.
Coutinho gave the example of the open door meetings of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, with live broadcasting.
“Therefore, we hope this will happen in the near future, to let the citizens enjoy high transparency and also official accountability,” the legislator said.
Meanwhile, in response to press enquiries regarding how many seats the group would like to acquire, Coutinho said “it depends upon the general public”.
The legislator lamented the limited number of full-time legislators in the AL, stating: “It is a pity that our AL has too many business people, many of whom do not [overly] consider the real needs of society”.
Regarding the manifesto of the group for this year’s election, Coutinho revealed that “the basic necessities of life and death are our demands”.
He indicated that the problems are the same, despite four years having passed since the last election, specifically pointing to the lack of accommodation for civil servants.
“No accommodation has been built since the return to the Mainland 17 years ago,” said the Macanese legislator.
Recently, Coutinho suffered a foot injury, resulting in several absences from AL sessions.
When asked if the injury would affect the upcoming campaign the legislator said it depends upon his doctor’s opinion.
“I hope my doctor will allow me to go on the streets and listen to the demands of citizens so we can improve,” said Coutinho. “Because we’re still working on our manifesto and we’ll keep collecting opinions and inserting elements that are suitable [regarding] citizens’ demands and benefits.”