The eight-party grouping in Legco will be adversely affected if two major parties share power with the Government after the ministerial system is set up, according to Liberal Party chief James Tien Pei-chun. Mr Tien, who convenes the grouping of almost 50 legislators, and Tsang Yok-sing, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, are tipped to become 'ministers without portfolio' in the Executive Council when the accountability system is introduced in July. The two parties' representatives would encourage support from party colleagues on government policies and bills while giving direct input from their parties to policy-making in Exco. But Mr Tien said the eight-party grouping would be mired in uncertainty if Exco were open to party representatives. 'There will be a coalition of government parties and a coalition of opposition parties. The eight-party consensus will be adversely affected,' he said. The grouping put forward joint proposals on relief measures including exemption of rates payments and freezing of government fees and charges before Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung finalised the Budget. Mr Tien told the South China Morning Post he had discussed with key party colleagues the idea of a ruling coalition between major 'friendly' political groupings and the Government. 'We are inclined to support this idea. Most of our members represent business and professional constituencies,' he said. Mr Tien said his party and the Breakfast Group of non-affiliated legislators were closer to the Government and principal officials in their political and economic ideas. 'But if we have to shoulder responsibility, we should be given rights and room in policies. If not, we will be in great trouble in future elections,' said Mr Tien, who represents the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce in the legislature. One example cited by Mr Tien was how some legislators believed the Government should rethink its proposal to ban smoking in all restaurants because of the adverse affect it may have on the catering industry. 'We have to be very practical in making political deals,' he said. But he said he did not see any major problems in a government-party coalition. 'Look at parts of the world where there is 'one man, one vote'. The policies made by their governments are not necessarily all populist,' Mr Tien said. 'The popularity of our party has gone up recently. I don't know why. Perhaps the voting behaviour of the people is more rational than we imagined. We have only ourselves to blame if we support a government which always makes mistakes. 'We hope our input will improve governance. If government popularity rises, we will benefit from it. If we have to swallow too many unpopular policy decisions, the [governing] coalition will break up,' said Mr Tien. A source close to Mr Tien said forming a governing coalition would benefit him and the Liberal Party. 'If he sits on Exco, his party colleagues will be more loyal to his leadership. It will help strengthen the party. People are keen to establish good relations with politicians at the centre of power,' the source said. Mr Tien said although the eight-party Legco grouping helped the Government by reaching a compromise on modest proposals, the move had caused unease among some quarters in business and government circles. 'Some business figures asked me why we bothered to seek compromise with the Democrats. They are worried that the Democrats will continue to oppose public policies that they had agreed with us behind closed doors. But the fact is that all [Legco] coalition members abide by our consensus,' he said. 'Beijing may not like the idea of a Legco coalition. But we explain to them it has nothing to do with politics. After all, Beijing also wants to see more co-operation between business and labour sectors. 'Inside the Government, senior officials who are prepared to make concessions to us welcomed the coalition. It's good for them if we can produce a modest position on policies. 'The public perception towards Legco has worsened in recent years . . . How can we monitor the Government if we are disorganised? It's good for our credibility if we are able to respond to the aspirations of society,' he said.