Ousted lawmaker Lau Siu-lai says she would consider retracting her appeal against her disqualification, if an earlier application to schedule court proceedings fails.
The two appeals filed by her and another disqualified lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung were scheduled to be heard next April.
“If we go to the Court of Final Appeal, it is certain that there will not be any result or by-election before the end of this Legislative Council term [in July 2020],” Lau said told an RTHK programme on Thursday.
Lau said they had applied to schedule hearings earlier, and the result will be handed down later this month. “If it is fast, we may go ahead with the case. If it is not, we may consider [dropping it].”
Lau said the pro-democracy camp still needs one more seat in the geographical constituency to reclaim its partial veto power in the legislature, thus she hoped the by-election would not be delayed for too long.
She said that she may run again if there is a by-election, adding that there was no plan for a primary election within the pro-democracy camp for now.
“A primary election will delay us from starting our preparations,” she said.
The duo were among several democratically-elected lawmakers ejected from the legislature over protests they made in 2016 during their oath-taking.
The primary election for the Kowloon West area by-election in January sparked controversy over who should be the “Plan B” candidate – a substitute candidate – for disqualified lawmaker Edward Yiu, should he be barred from running. Yiu was eventually allowed to run but lost the race.
After Demosisto party activist Agnes Chow was disqualified from the race in the Hong Kong Island constituency, Au Nok-hin – her chosen substitute – won the support of the whole camp without any issue.
Lau said if there was another by-election, the discussion over substitute candidates will likely be led by her and Leung Kwok-hung.
Lau said Edward Yiu’s loss in the recent by-election sounded an alarm bell.
“The pro-Beijing camp has a lot of resources, planning and votes – if they repeat the strategy, it would be difficult for us to win in Kowloon West. The pro-democracy camp has no chance if it is split, and we have to start early,” she said.
Meanwhile, the legislature has decided not to ask Lau to give back her salary as a lawmaker, and the operational expenses that have been spent.
Lau said she would have to give back HK$310,000 in prepaid funds and items – such as furniture and computers – that she did not spend. Lau said this was reasonable as these were normally given back to the legislature when lawmakers completed their terms.