Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp enacts by-election backup plan as Lee Cheuk-yan submits nominations
Veteran campaigner submitted his nominations to stand in November’s Kowloon West by-election amid worries that the pan-democrats’ chosen nominee Lau Siu-lai’s application would be rejected by the returning officer.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp has launched a backup plan for the coming Legislative Council by-election, after reports suggested its prime nominee Lau Siu-lai would have her application rejected.
Veteran labour rights activist Lee Cheuk-yan showed up at the Kowloon City District Office to submit about 200 nominations at 11am on Friday.
The move came as the pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported on the same day that Lau could have her application turned down.
Without naming its source, the paper reported the returning officer had deemed Lau to have no intention of upholding the Basic Law.
The decision was made with reference to Lau’s oath taking in 2016, the paper reported.
Lee, a Labour Party member, described the need for him to enter the election as Lau’s backup as “absurd”.
“The government is playing selectively… it is an unfair electoral system,” Lee said.
Lee is a former lawmaker and a former chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China.
Lee said that if Lau’s candidacy was confirmed before the nomination period ended next Monday, he would withdraw.
“Our hearts ache that Hong Kong has become this way,” Lee said.
He refused to comment on the complications the pro-democracy camp would face in the upcoming by-election.
Lau, who recently became a Labour Party member, said she had not yet been contacted by the returning officer.
“I think it is absurd, because I applied on October 2, the first day [of the nomination period]. So far I haven’t received any questions or confirmation,” Lau said.
Before having his candidacy confirmed in the by-election of March this year, former Legco member Edward Yiu Chung-yim answered questions from a returning officer.
Lau said the government had “obviously delayed” the process and was playing dirty.
Lau added that even if she was barred from standing for election, she would do her best to campaign for Lee.
Former lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee, previously with the pro-democracy Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, also submitted his papers to stand in the by-election.
Lau acknowledged that, should multiple pro-democracy candidates enter the race owing to uncertainty over her application, it would affect the pan-democrats’ campaign.
“This is one trick the government could play,” Lau said.
“The pro-democracy camp will do its best to let voters know which candidate is the one it supports.”
Separately, former journalist and government political assistant Chan Hoi-yan will represent the pro-establishment camp in the November poll.