For decades, the election for the Lawyers Association (AAM) has been uneventful. It was just a formality to re- elect the undisputed incumbent, Jorge Neto Valente.
This year, on September 14, Sérgio de Almeida Correia decided to run for the top barrister position announcing his candidacy at a press conference in his office.
“I run to fill the void” left by Jorge Neto Valente, he said.
In May, Neto Valente said in an interview with Radio Macau that “the time has come for a total restructure of AAM’s board.”
However, Almeida Correia’s bid was not welcomed by incumbent Neto Valente.
A week after the challenge, Valente attacked Correia’s bid on TDM TV as one of “confrontation” and “rupture,” while labeling the challenger as “radical” and “corrosive” in his political commentary.
A week later, Correia responded to the criticism saying that Valente’s words were “inadequate” and a possible violation of lawyers’ ethics, which states that lawyers should be civil and avoid personally attacking peers.
Some lawyers publicly expressed their support for Correia, but not enough to form a list to run successfully against Valente, who eventually was again elected unopposed on December 4 for another mandate.
Nevertheless, Almeida Correia’s candidacy made “a splash,” noted prominent lawyer Leonel Alves.
“There has been a lot of talk about a challenge for many years but nobody has had the courage, until now, to come forward, challenging the status quo like Mr Almeida Correia did.”