Alliance chooses Chinese Assembly Member Anna Lo to be European candidate
The first Chinese Assembly Member has been chosen as Alliance's candidate for the European election.
The party's ruling council last night selected Anna Lo as its standard-bearer for this year's poll on May 22.
Last year party leader David Ford told the Belfast Telegraph: "Anna caught the popular imagination when she increased the Alliance vote from 6% to 22% in South Belfast. That is an indication of her magic," he said.
There were no other candidates for the meeting to consider.
The party has come under sustained attack from unionists over the Belfast City Council decision to switch from year-round displays of the Union flag to designated days.
In the most recent Euro poll contested by the party (2010) it gained only 5.5% of the vote with candidate Ian James Parsley.
In 2004, the party combined with the Workers Party, Labour and others in support of independent John Gilliland, then president of the Ulster Farmers Union, who gained 6.6%.
An optimistic Ms Lo – who topped the Assembly poll in South Belfast – said: "Alliance has shown that we can lead change and make a difference."
Northern Ireland's incumbent MEPs, Diane Dodds for the DUP, Jim Nicholson of the UUP and Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson, intend to run again. Alex Attwood is standing for the SDLP.
As party leader, Mr Ford endorsed Ms Lo's selection saying: "She is one the most progressive voices in the Assembly. Northern Ireland will be a better place by having Anna Lo represent us in Europe."