Beijing-backed Ho Iat Seng elected as Macau’s new CE

Ho Iat Seng, Macau's newest chief executive

Ho Iat Seng on Sunday has been declared as the next chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region.

All 400 members of the chief executive (CE) election committee started voting at around 10:00 am on Sunday. After around a 30-minute voting procedure, it was revealed that Seng gained 392 votes to be the CE-designate. 

Mr. Ho was the lone candidate for the CE position. He is known to have deep mainland ties and is also known to be backed by Beijing. 

A respected business leader, Ho entered politics in 2000 as a local deputy to China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress.

In 2009, he was expected to become the chief executive but decided to run for the legislature instead.

Earlier this year, risk advisor Steve Vickers warned that the new chief executive would be able to influence the fate of Macau’s current gaming concessionaires.

Should Ho become chief executive, he could call for Chinese companies to buy into, or take over, existing gaming businesses, or simply refuse to grant new concessions to the current operators, said Vickers.

In June, Ho was heard asking for the “healthy development of the gaming industry.”

Regarding the upcoming expiry of the operators’ concessions, he said that the tender process “has to follow current [gaming] law unless we change it.”

Ho is awaiting the approval of China’s central government to be the SAR’s new CE.