District board members handpicked by Tung Chee-hwa in 1997 are not keen to contest the polls. Only eight of the 96 handover appointees have signed up. All are fielded by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), and five were defeated in the 1994 elections. The apathy has sparked speculation Mr Tung may have an understanding with the appointees that they will be reappointed for a new term. The Chief Executive appointed 96 people on top of the 346 district board members elected in 1994 to form the provisional district boards after the handover. He has said the professional background and experience of the appointees would benefit the boards, whose appointed seats were scrapped by former governor Chris Patten in 1994. A political analyst said the cool response came as no surprise. Ivan Choy Chi-keung, City University Applied Social Studies lecturer, said the revival of the appointment system by Mr Tung had discouraged appointees from standing. 'Mr Tung has not stated when appointed seats will be abolished. This has dampened campaign incentive,' he said. He said professionals appointed by Mr Tung would have difficulties in direct elections as they lacked grassroots support and community-work experience. Secretary for Home Affairs David Lan Hong-tsung said the best thing to do was to run in the election. 'That is the positive way,' he said. He pledged the Government would not appoint election losers.