China's Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), with a population of nearly 470,000, is expecting its third legislative elections scheduled for Sunday.
Residents displayed stronger enthusiasm to participate in the political event, as the number of registered voters increased by 60,840 to 220,653, hitting a record in the history.
Local analysts said the principle of "Macao people governing Macao" is further on the right track, with an enlarged would-be Legislative Assembly (LA) and voters group.
This year, the number of LA members that generate from the direct election increases from 10 in the second LA to 12, which indicates that Macao people can select more law-makers according to their own wishes.
The numbers of LA members that generate from the indirect election and from the designation of the chief executive of the MSAR remain at 10 and seven respectively.
With a four-year term in office, the LA members boast the right on legislation and supervision over government work in line with the Basic Law.
A total of 125 candidates from 18 social groups contest in the direct election; 96 and 15 respectively in the previous direct election in 2001.
The rise of the number of contestants could be seen as another indication of Macao people's booming political zeal.
The candidates kicked off their publicity campaigns on Sept. 10. They have since been witnessed on local TV channels, newspapers and street boards to promote their political views, yet none of them assaulted their rivals in word or action.
The Election Committee has launched a batch of regulations, tightening the curb over the campaign's time-frame, areas and contents.
Meanwhile, the region has been in a hard bid to secure "a clean election."
The Commission Against Corruption (CAC) has been exerting efforts to tackle election rigging.
The CAC cracked down an election-fraud network earlier this month, in which 485 suspects were involved.
"Money for vote" situation will be rooted up on Macao's soil, the CAC pledged.
Macao is also to embrace "a younger election," as both candidates and voters are to show off younger faces in the legislative elections.
Observers said "a younger election" is a indication that Macao' s young generation is showcasing more endeavor to participate in political and community affairs.
Among the 125 candidates, vying for the 12 directly-elected seats, 54 are under 45 years old; Among the 18 election lists, one thirds of the No. 1 candidates of each list are under 45.
Among the 60,840 newly registered voters, 14,186 aged between 18 and 24.
(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2005)