The pro-Beijing Hong Kong Progressive Alliance will field 30 candidates in the polls, its biggest electoral outing to date. The party, founded in 1994, will also be campaigning with one eye on the coming geographical constituency contests in the 2004 Legislative Council elections. Ten of its candidates have never fought an election. Chairman Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen said the November 28 elections marked a milestone in the party's work at district council level. He said the party had just started district work and had launched a few branches this year. The party would not be pulling out all the stops at next year's Legco election, however, preferring instead to concentrate on 2004. 'We will still focus on the seats for functional constituencies and the Election Committee,' said Mr Lau, who was elected through the electoral body last year. Between one and three Alliance candidates would contest the direct polls. Mr Lau said each of the party's candidates in the district council elections would receive $45,000 - the maximum amount of expenses - from the Alliance. A total of 78 candidates signed up for the district polls yesterday. This brought the total number to 529. They are running for 390 seats. Nominations close on October 20.