DAB veteran Lau Kong-wah won't seek job as party chief after poll loss
In wake of his failed bid for a 'super seat', Lau Kong-wah says the chairmanship is not for him
Veteran politician Lau Kong-wah says he will not seek chairmanship of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, after his attempt at becoming a "super lawmaker" ended in the loss of his 15-year seat on the Legislative Council.
The DAB vice-chairman, who is also a Sha Tin district councillor, said he would focus instead on party affairs, such as grooming young talent.
He also denied being upset by the roughly 38,000 indications of support for a Facebook page that celebrated his defeat.
Lau, 55, was tipped to succeed Tam Yiu-chung as party chairman next year.
"The chairman represents the image of the DAB and speaks for the DAB. If he's not a legislator, he can't achieve that," he said.
Lau was narrowly ousted from the legislature with 199,732 votes in Sunday's election. He ranked sixth among five slates and two individuals in the fight for five "super seats", created in the functional constituency for district councils.
The super legislators were selected by citywide ballot and therefore have a bigger mandate than other lawmakers. One of the seats went to Lau's party colleague, Starry Lee Wai-king.
Lau said he knew from the start the DAB might not have enough votes for two "super seats".
"Some of my New Territories supporters were convinced that I could win, so they voted for someone else. I was psychologically prepared because I knew the risks were high."
He said he would probably try a comeback in four years, "but it will depend on my party's plan".
In the meantime he would work on managing DAB internal affairs while continuing to serve on the district council, he said.
Lau started his political career as a Sha Tin district board member in 1985 and joined the United Democrats in the early 1990s. He lost in the 1991 and 1995 Legco elections, but later shocked many by joining the provisional Legco in 1997 and switching membership to the DAB.
He won a legislature seat a year later and also served on the Executive Council from 2008 to June of this year.
He has been attacked throughout his career by democracy supporters over his hard line and rhetoric towards pan-democrats in Legco.
Looking back, Lau said he had no regrets. "It is normal for legislators to have different voices and to exchange fire."
For that reason, he said he was not discouraged to see people celebrating his defeat, including partying outside his office.
"People have the freedom to express their opinions. After more than 20 years as a politician, I see it as normal."
Lau said he was only worried about a trend towards radical ideas in the city nowadays.
"Discussions were more rational when I first joined Legco, but the atmosphere has changed in recent years. I'm worried it will hinder democracy's progress."