Second attempt | New Legislative Assembly president repeats oath after blunder

Chief Executive Chui Sai On presided over a second swearing-in ceremony for the recently-elected President of the Legislative Assembly (AL), Kou Hoi In, on Saturday, held at the Government Headquarters.

The second ceremony, which according to the government came at the request of Kou, was held to correct an error during last week’s inauguration, in which the long-time lawmaker accidentally omitted the word “Macau” from at least one mention of the “Macau Special Administrative Region of China.”

The second ceremony was held privately, with senior government officials and lawmakers reportedly not invited. The media was also not informed.

According to Macau Concealers, the private swearing-in ceremony might be illegal.

Citing legal professionals, the media outlet suggests that the ceremony might violate Article 3 of the Oath of Inauguration Act, which states that “the oath must be publicly sworn in at the time of employment.”

“Instead of focusing on legality, we should concentrate on competence,” said political commentator Eric Sautedé, when asked about the matter. “[Kou] has only that to do – he just has to correctly repeat a preordained text written for him. And even that he fails to do.”

In November 2016, two democrat lawmakers in Hong Kong were disqualified from taking up their seats in the legislature after a China court ruled their oaths, tarnished with inflammatory language, could not be retaken.

“In Hong Kong, the distortion was intentional and political,” said Sautedé. “Here it is unintentional and seen as purely administrative. Again, it says a lot about how these [officials] see their function and how they perform.”

Formerly the first secretary of the AL, Kou was elected as the body’s president last Wednesday, earning 29 out of a possible 32 votes.

Prior to the election, only lawmaker and AL vice president Chui Sai Cheong was being considered for the position.

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.

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