THE Chief Executive should shift to a figurehead role, allowing the legislature more governing power, a forum on constitutional reform was told. The Chinese University's Professor Michael Davis said the present system, which favoured the pro-Beijing politicians, could 'invite an unstable government'. The professor also warned those who could secure power in the legislature by choosing to toe the Beijing line not to 'celebrate too loudly'. 'In a system where no popularly elected politicians accept responsibility for government missteps, [Beijing] will frequently find itself credited with the most questionable policies of its anointed politicians, undermining its legitimacy and the loyalty of Hong Kong people,' he said. The professor was addressing a forum organised by a joint think-tank, consisting of the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation and Hong Kong Policy Research Institute. Also at yesterday's Chinese University function were former chief secretary Sir David Akers-Jones and pro-democracy legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing. Professor Davis, from the university's department of government and public administration, said: 'The [present] legislative design tends to deny substantial power in respect of government policy to the Legislative Council. 'But a fully elected Legislative Council, facing a non-elected Chief Executive, could be expected to escalate the use of public pressure and the politics of shame. 'It would appear the only way such [a] chief executive could avoid such pressure is to be directly elected territory-wide or shift to a figurehead role, allowing the government to be formed in the Legislative Council.' Tung Chee-hwa, a former shipping tycoon, was 'selected' in 1996 to head the SAR by a 400-member committee appointed by Beijing. His current term will expire in 2002. The Constitutional Affairs Bureau said a new law was being drafted on the election of the next chief executive, and hopefully it could be tabled to the Legislative Council in the middle of next year. The Basic Law provides for the possibility of full democracy after 2007.