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Plunge in Macao voter turnout carries signal for Hong Kong

Participation falls below 50% for first time after 21 candidates disqualified

The Macao Electoral Affairs Commission attributed the decline in voting to bad weather and pandemic travel controls. (Courtesy Macao Government Information Bureau)

HONG KONG -- Voter turnout for Macao's legislative election plunged to a record low after most opposition hopefuls were disqualified, an ominous signal as officials in nearby Hong Kong prepare for year-end polls on similar terms.

According to preliminary data from the Macao Electoral Affairs Commission on Monday, only 42.4% of eligible voters participated in Sunday's public polls. This marked a drop of around 15 percentage points from the previous Legislative Assembly election in 2017 and the first time the turnout rate has fallen below 50% since the city's return to Chinese control from Portugal in 1999.

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