Veteran lawmaker Kou Hoi In was elected the new Legislative Assembly (AL) president yesterday during a plenary session solely dedicated to the election.
Kou, who already held the post of first secretary of the AL, gathered the almost unanimous support from his peers, winning 29 out of a possible 32 votes, resulting in 91% approval from the lawmakers.
Curiously enough, the remaining three votes were split among lawmaker José Pereira Coutinho and two blank votes. The results show that Kou achieved an important consensus in becoming the new president, collecting votes from the full spectrum of the hemicycle, including the pro-democratic wing.
Kou’s election came without much surprise. Several of Macau’s highest figures had expressed sentiments that it would be poorly regarded if Chui Sai Cheong, the elder brother of the Chief Executive and current vice president of the AL, assumed the top leadership position while his younger brother was the Chief Executive, even for a few months. That sentiment has evidently paved the way for Kou’s election.
Before the election, lawmaker Sulu Sou questioned the acting president of the AL Chui Sai Cheong on election procedures and who should lead the session.
Chui replied that the matter had already been considered by the AL Board, who decided that the vice president should lead the plenary session. Chui remarked that the idea (presented by Sou) that the oldest lawmaker should lead the session only applied to the start of a new legislature when there were no elected members on the multiple bodies of the AL.
During the vote that followed, Sou took the opportunity to once more express his wish for AL Committee meetings to be more transparent instead of being held behind closed doors, shouting, “Open the committee meetings.”
The votes were counted by Kou in his role as first secretary and Chan Hong, the second secretary, and the results were then validated by the acting president Chui, who confirmed that Kou wished to take the post.
Upon assuming the post, Kou expressed his wish to serve the region to the best of his ability, and thanked the lawmakers for placing their trust in him.
As a member of the legislature for the past 28 years, Kou is the longest-serving lawmaker and a representative of the business sector coming from the indirect sectorial elections.
Among his other duties, the new president of the AL is also one of Macau’s representatives in the National People’s Congress in the central government and has been heading the Macao Chamber of Commerce.
After the election, Kou and a delegation from the AL went to the Macau Science Center, where Kou was inaugurated as the new AL president, taking the oath in the presence of the Chief Executive.
The ceremony was witnessed by a large number of government officials as well as representatives from the central government in Macau.