Liberal Party heavyweight Ronald Arculli announced yesterday he would not stand in September's Legislative Council elections. He said he had become frustrated by run-ins with officials and wanted to spend more time with his family and pursue his legal career. Mr Arculli, 61, who represents the real estate and construction sector, has fallen out with his constituents over the past year over his support for democracy. He had suggested earlier in the year he would run in a geographical constituency. He said his decision not to do so was both a relief and a regret. 'But when one has to put something aside, one has to put it aside,' he said. He regretted not having tried to stand in a geographical constituency and did not rule out a political comeback. The announcement follows similar decisions by Christine Loh Kung-wai of the Citizens Party and Democrat Michael Ho Mun-ka. Ms Loh said she would not stand again because the executive had too much power over the legislature. Mr Arculli also made no secret of his frustration. 'My experience with the Government has not always been smooth. On occasions, it has been frustrating and infuriating. I am quite sure they probably think that I have also infuriated and frustrated some of their exercises. I believe . . . officials felt that I was impeding the Earth from rotating.' He said the way officials argued over 'legislative intent' during the scrutiny of bills gave rise to fears they supported the 'rule of man' rather than rule of law. 'Even this year, on several occasions, you heard senior civil servants say the wording is that, but the intention is not that. 'We will make a speech in the second and third readings to clarify the intention'. I found myself saying that that is rule of man, not rule of law.' He said the interpretation of laws enacted by Legco was up to the courts, not officials. Mr Arculli, who has been in the legislature for 12 years, said he supported full universal suffrage and an early review of the pace of democracy. He said he was disappointed with the failure to push for a ministerial and political appointment system. 'I feel the Government has the room to do it, but it seems the Government has not chosen to take that route.' Mr Arculli, a partner in the solicitors firm Woo, Kwan, Lee & Law, is leaving to set up his own law firm and spend more time with his family before deciding what to do next. He denied his wife, Johanna, had been opposed to a campaign in a geographical constituency. 'My wife asked me not to run, but said that if I did run, I should run for direct elections. None of my family members wanted me to stand. They were more afraid that I would lose than I was.' Mr Arculli was appointed to the legislature in 1988 and has represented the real estate and construction sector since 1991. It had become clear in recent months that his property-developer constituents would no longer back him. The relationship turned sour over his stance on some controversial issues, including the pace of democracy, the no-confidence motion in Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie and the government granting of the Cyber-Port development rights to the Pacific Century Group without open tender. His relationship with the Liberal Party also suffered as a result of the no-confidence vote in March last year. Mr Arculli walked out of the Legco chamber to avoid having to vote. Miss Leung survived the vote after eight Liberal Party members abstained and one voted against. The abstentions came after party chairman James Tien Pei-chun had indicated his party would support the motion. His voice shaking, Mr Arculli said: 'Madam President, because of my respect for the Liberal Party and the Basic Law, I am afraid I cannot continue with this debate, and I shall withdraw from this chamber. Today, whatever the result of this motion, there are no winners. The loser is Hong Kong.' His constituents had expected him to vote in favour of Miss Leung. The Liberal Party said Mr Arculli's decision announced yesterday was a great pity. 'We respect the reasons for his decision,' it said. 'No one can replace him. His decision is not just a loss to the Liberal Party, but a great loss to the Legco.' Fellow lawmakers, including political rivals, said Mr Arculli's knowledge of bill drafting would be a great loss. Asked last night whether he had fulfilled his once-stated wish to become a legislator with credibility both within and outside the lawmaking body, he said: 'I think I've achieved it, but of course, it's at a price.' Was it worth it? 'It was.'