The results showed the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong's pro-Beijing stance was no longer a liability, academics said. Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a social studies lecturer at City University, said there had been strong negative sentiments about pro-Beijing parties in the 1994 polls. 'With the passage of time, the pro-Beijing label is no longer a liability, although neither is it an asset,' he said. The DAB had a higher success rate this year than in 1994. Of the 176 candidates fielded, 83 won - a rate of 47.2 per cent. In 1994, 37 out of 83 candidates won - a rate of 41 per cent. The Democrats won 86 out of the 173 seats they contested. The success rate was 49.7 per cent, down from 57 per cent in 1994. However, Mr Choy said the result was not an accurate reflection of support for the parties contesting the Legislative Council election next year. 'Candidates who have been devoted to district affairs would have an edge in the district council elections with smaller constituencies. 'However, when it comes to the Legco election, prominent political stars would have an advantage as the constituencies are bigger. 'The party effect will be significant in the latter case,' he said. Mr Choy said the DAB's strategy was better than the Democrats - they had central co-ordination, their pamphlets were standardised and adverts were placed in MTR stations. Ma Ngok, an associate professor in City University's department of public and social administration, said the Democrats had to improve to fight off the DAB. The Democrats might not have put enough effort into district affairs, he said. This explained the poor performance of the Democrats in Shamshuipo and Sha Tin, where their candidates suffered heavy defeats. 'The fact that they have put up too many candidates in some constituencies, such as in Eastern, made electioneering resources tight,' he said.