THE influential lobby group the Business and Professionals Federations (BPF) will not field candidates for elections in the foreseeable future, chairman Vincent Lo Hong-sui has said. Mr Lo, newly re-elected to serve one more year, said the group would not evolve into a political party nor participate in elections. But the BPF, formed in June 1991, had yet to decide whether to provide financial support to candidates from other parties, and had not concluded what role it should play to make it an effective lobby group. The federation did not field or offer financial backing to Legislative Council candidates in the 1991 polls. Speaking after yesterday's annual general meeting, Mr Lo said the group had decided to stay away from elections because any poll would have a divisive effect on the federation and, and in order to win votes, the BPF would have to do a lot more external work. He said the BPF would continue to provide advice on matters affecting Hongkong's transition. Explaining why he accepted the chairmanship despite earlier hints that he would step down, Mr Lo said all the BPF executive committee members wanted him to stay on for one more year to ensure there was continuity and allow more time to find a successor. He said all three vice-chairmen - legislators Henry Tang Ying-yen and Edward Ho Sing-tin, and local deputy to the National People's Congress, Chan Wing-kee - were next year's candidates for chairman. But sources have said Mr Tang will probably succeed Mr Lo. Both Mr Tang and Mr Ho are Liberal Party members. The executive committee comprises 28 elected members and four co-opted members.