Senior Counsel Audrey Eu Yuet-mee hopes her candidacy in December's Legco by-election will encourage more 'non-politicians' to run. After weeks of urging from friends, Ms Eu, 47, announced that she would stand as an independent in the Hong Kong Island poll on December 10. The seat was vacated by Gary Cheng Kai-nam, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong. A disgraced Mr Cheng relinquished his seat soon after he was re-elected last month. The Democratic Party has promised to back Ms Eu. Asked why she had decided to run, Ms Eu said: 'I have to be true to my own belief. One man, one vote, irrespective of class, colour and creed, each carrying the same weight as the next, is the essence of democracy. When put to the challenge, I just can't say 'direct election is not for me'.' She said many of her business and professional friends still had reservations about direct elections. 'I believe we should trust in the wisdom of the electorate,' she said. She said her husband, Dr Edmund Woo Kin-wai, a neurologist in private practice, had initially greeted the election idea with strong resistance. 'I think his biggest reservation is that the campaign process will involve standing on the streets, speaking through loud-hailers and conducting door-to-door visits,' she said. 'I believe he is motivated by love and care of me and he doesn't want me to be hurt.' The couple, who live in Happy Valley, have three daughters - Claire, 16, Cheryl, 13, and Jacqueline, seven. Despite having secured the Democratic Party's backing, Ms Eu dismissed suggestions that her decision to stand was the result of co-ordination among the pro-democracy camp. 'I have some past service in the community. As to whether people support me, it should come from . . . their own volition,' she said. 'I didn't ask people to seek co-ordination to field me as a candidate. In standing for election, I hope it will encourage more people from different sectors to participate in direct elections.' Ms Eu said that while she had always supported democracy and direct election, she had never thought of standing for Legco. Since it became known there would be a by-election, she had been receiving a continuous stream of entreaties from friends for her to stand. 'In the past, I was content to serve the public through my profession as a barrister,' she said. Ms Eu was admitted to the Bar in England in 1977 and in Hong Kong in 1978. She was called to the Inner Bar in Hong Kong in 1993. She was the chairwoman of the Hong Kong Bar Association between January 16, 1997 and January 20 last year. Last night, Lee Cheuk-yan of The Frontier said the group would discuss next week whether to support Ms Eu. Mr Lee said some members had reservations about her, partly because she had joined the 800-member Election Committee, which elected six legislators in last month's poll. Ms Eu is likely to face a tough battle, with leading pro-Beijing unionist Cheng Yiu-tong under pressure to stand against her. Tsang Yok-sing, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, described Ms Eu as a 'high-calibre' candidate. Mr Cheng was not available for comment last night.