Anna Lo is to stand for Alliance in May’s European election, the party last night confirmed.
Alliance is the last of the five big parties to announce its candidate for the May 22 poll and Ms Lo joins the DUP’s Diane Dodds, UUP’s Jim Nicholson, SDLP MLA Alex Attwood and Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson.
The Conservatives have chosen former soldier Mark Brotherston, UKIP have chosen Kilkeel councillor Henry Reilly and the Green Party candidate will be 28-year-old Ross Brown.
There remain two major unknowns about the election: whether the DUP will field an unprecedented second candidate and whether the TUV will field a candidate.
The DUP had been expected to confirm by last month whether its sitting MEP, Diane Dodds, would have a running mate – something which is thought unlikely – but it has yet to do so.
Ms Lo was the sole candidate for Alliance’s nomination, which was endorsed by the party’s council last night.
Alliance’s last European candidate, Ian Parsley, performed quite strongly for the party, taking 5.5 per cent of the vote, before defecting to the then Conservative-Ulster Unionist Alliance just months after the election. He subsequently quit the Tories and has returned to Alliance.
Last night Ms Lo said that she would be standing on a “pro-European, pro-environment and pro-shared future” ticket.
The South Belfast MLA, who was first elected to Stormont in 2007, added: “Northern Ireland already benefits enormously from the European Union, but with three Eurosceptic MEPs, we aren’t living up to our full potential.
“I want to use the European Union to help grow our economy and achieve a shared future.”
Alliance leader David Ford said that Ms Lo had “a proven track record of representing everyone at the Assembly and in her constituency” .
And, in what may be an attempt to win votes from those who may be tempted to support the smaller Green Party, Mr Ford highlighted Ms Lo’s “tireless” work as chair of the Assembly’s Environment Committee to “protect our environment and promote sustainable development”.
The Hong Kong-born politician is a former director of the Chinese Welfare Association.