The battle between two former senior officials for a legislative seat took a personal turn yesterday after Anson Chan Fang On-sang questioned whether it was her opponent, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who was the 'sudden democrat'. In an interview with ATV's News line, a clip of which was broadcast last night, Mrs Chan was asked how she might respond to accusations that she was a 'sudden democrat'. 'I wonder who is the sudden democrat, myself or Regina?' the former chief secretary replied. The full version of the programme is scheduled to be broadcast tomorrow. Speaking after a school visit, Mrs Ip denied she was a 'sudden democrat' and reiterated that she had planned to participate in the Legco election two years ago while she was studying in the United States. 'My decision to run was absolutely not a sudden one. Once I returned to Hong Kong, I sought Mrs Fan's [Legco president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai] opinion on running.' The former security chief compared herself with 'many others who talk about democracy all the time', citing her own experience in studying democracy at university for two years and living in democratic countries such as Britain and the US for four years. Mrs Chan also said on Newsline that her rival had yet to clarify why she was running. 'There's nothing wrong in being politically ambitious. I just feel that she needs to be a bit more honest. So far, she hasn't really come clean in saying why she has decided now to participate in the Legco election. What does she hope this will lead to?' When the programme host suggested that Mrs Ip had entered the election because she was considering running for chief executive in the future, Mrs Chan responded, 'Maybe she will be questioned about this.' But Mrs Ip said she had not aimed so high and might not even win the Legco seat. A source close to Mrs Chan said her campaign team was 'mystified' why both Mrs Ip and ATV considered what she had said an accusation. The source said Mrs Chan's remarks needed to be taken in context. Mrs Ip said yesterday that she had secured the required 100 nominations to stand in the election. Commenting on the by-election, Mrs Fan said it would be an exciting opportunity for the electorate because they would have to choose between two high-profile and capable people. 'But how the winner will perform as a legislator will only be known after she has started working in Legco,' the Legco president said. She said it was common for outspoken politicians to calm down once they were elected to office.