Anson Chan

Anson Chan tipped to announce by-election intentions this week

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 September, 2007, 12:00am


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Popular former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang is expected to announce whether she will run in the December Legislative Council by-election by the middle of this week.

Optimism remains high that Mrs Chan will agree to stand on behalf of the pro-democracy camp, which hopes her high profile and continuing popularity will overcome any possible pro-Beijing candidate.

But a rift seems to be opening among the pan-democrats because some do not want Mrs Chan to lead them.

Veteran democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming said yesterday: 'Mrs Chan would run in the by-election because of her commitment to the society. If it was for her private interest, she would not run.'

A source close to Mrs Chan yesterday said she would announce her decision by the middle of the week. The source said she needed time to discuss it with her family members.

Earlier press reports had quoted her husband, Archie, as saying he did not want her to stand in the by-election, fearing it could overload her.

The South China Morning Post yesterday reported that Mrs Chan would opt not to follow the pan-democrats' agreed procedures to select a joint candidate in the event that she decided to stand.

But The Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing said: 'If she considers herself a member of the pan-democrats, she should follow the procedure we have agreed.'

Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah also said he hoped Mrs Chan could take part in the pan-democrats' joint candidate selection process, but added: 'Certainly, if she does not want to do so, we cannot force her.'

It is widely tipped that the democracy candidate's opponent would be pro-Beijing candidate Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, former security chief.

The by-election is to fill the seat left vacant by the death of pro-Beijing legislator Ma Lik last month.