Tung Chee-hwa promised to forge a new partnership with Hong Kong as he announced his decision yesterday to seek a second term as Chief Executive. In a frank speech to 800 high-powered supporters at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in which he outlined his Government's shortcomings, Mr Tung said he would improve his performance. 'I have constantly reflected on how we could have done better, for there are undoubtedly deficiencies,' he said. He said that community reaction to some policies could have been better assessed. 'For these deficiencies and other shortcomings, I will ensure that they are properly addressed.' Interrupted by several rounds of applause, Mr Tung promised to strengthen contacts and co-operation across the breadth of society - parents and youth, businessmen and workers, politicians, academics and professionals. 'I hope that through increased interaction and co-operation, the Government and Hong Kong people can work in genuine partnership. I hope this partnership will enable more unity of purpose and engender greater accord. 'With this partnership, I believe Hong Kong will be well positioned for the future,' he told the meeting. Hours before Mr Tung launched his bid for five more years as Chief Executive, President Jiang Zemin added his weight to the campaign. Mr Jiang told journalists in Myanmar: 'I wish that Mr Tung will get re-elected. I am convinced he will get re-elected.' Asked if he supported Mr Tung, he said: 'I believe he will [win]. Do I still have to say [I] support [him]?' Accompanying Mr Jiang, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said: 'All Chinese people support him. He's a broad-minded and generous person. He's not what some people in Hong Kong said about him . . . He is No 1.' Speaking at a media briefing after his campaign launch, Mr Tung said: 'I am gratified by the blessing.' He said he made the decision to seek a second term last month. Beijing was not consulted, but was informed later. 'My family want me to spend more time with them . . . But after my decision was made, they all supported me. I want to finish the unfinished work.' Elected with 320 votes from the 400-member Selection Committee in 1996, Mr Tung's popularity has been on a downward slide since the handover. A survey published on Wednesday found only 16 per cent of respondents supported his re-election. About 30 activists from the Coalition Against Second Term protested against the undemocratic nature of the election outside the convention centre. Convenor Emily Lau Wai-hing condemned Mr Jiang's remarks as interference in the electoral process. Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming criticised the electoral method as a 'humiliation to people's wisdom'. The election is due to be decided by the 800-member Election Committee on March 24. Eight speakers from a range of backgrounds, including tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung, political moderate Bernard Charnwut Chan, Canto-pop singer Alan Tam and Form Six student Jerry Si-sang, took turns at the campaign launch to explain why they supported Mr Tung. Mr Tung said afterwards that his first term's top priority of securing a smooth transition was achieved at a price. Public demand for a more accountable government had been compromised, he said, because 'it takes time to change'. 'We must ensure that what the Government does is in line with public opinion . . . I'm not talking about what I'll do in the next few months, but what I and my successors should do in the next five years and beyond.' He said he had no idea whether he would face a challenger in March. 'If there is no competitor, I will win. Even if there is one, I will win,' he said. 'The campaign has just begun . . . I will seek support from the 800 Election Committee members. At the same time, I will seek support from the 6.8 million people.' In his speech, Mr Tung said 'we have successfully taken the first step' in securing a smooth transition. He said there was room for improvement in the management of some policy initiatives, balancing different interests, putting priorities on reforms, and reviewing public opinion. On top of these four major tasks, his goal was to ensure that government policies 'are in step with the times'. In the face of a predicted $60 billion budget deficit, he said the Government should try to reduce spending while ensuring quality and efficiency of service. He said his other major tasks were to make full use of China's accession to the World Trade Organisation for the benefit of Hong Kong; create jobs, provide training and retraining and a better safety net; and foster a 'can-do spirit' and unity of purpose.