A Legislative Council by-election will be held on November 25 for the seat of pro-democracy politician Lau Siu-lai, who was disqualified last year for improperly taking her oath of office.

The Electoral Affairs Commission made the announcement on Tuesday, saying the polling date was decided based on an estimated preparation time of six months.

The announcement came after Lau retracted her court appeal against her disqualification in May, which meant her seat in the Kowloon West geographical constituency could be filled via a by-election.

Lau Siu-lai
Lau Siu-lai. Photo: inmediahk.net.

Lau said that the by-election date was earlier than expected by about a month. She added that it was important for the pro-democracy camp to reach a consensus on their candidate as soon as possible, but did not say whether she intended to run again.

In May, Lau suggested that the Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan could be a substitute candidate if a pro-democracy candidate was disqualified. In the legislature’s March by-election, Agnes Chow from the Demosisto party was barred from running due to her advocacy of self-determination for Hong Kong.

Former Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said earlier this month that he had been “approached to run as a candidate” for the pro-establishment camp. Following the announcement of the by-election date, he said he has not yet decided whether to run.

Ko Wing-man
Ko Wing-man. Photo: inmediahk.net.

Chair of the DAB party Starry Lee said on Tuesday that the pro-establishment camp was formulating a strategy for the by-election.

Lau Siu-lai, a lecturer at the Hong Kong Community College, was voted into the Legislative Council by 38,183 votes in 2016. She rose to prominence after establishing the self-determination advocacy group Democracy Groundwork during the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

When Lau assumed office, she took her oath in “slow-motion,” a move that the court ruled was unlawful.

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.