Although more than seven weeks remain before the parties meet for a showdown at the polls, tension is already building inside the Democratic Party and its pro-Beijing rival, the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong. And while both parties are trying hard to look relaxed and optimistic about their four-yearly battle in the District Council elections, unease is showing on the faces of politicians from the two camps. Thirty DAB candidates running for Eastern and Wan Chai seats met for a poorly arranged pre-nomination rally in a Quarry Bay park yesterday. Party members were roasting in the early morning sun in their jackets and ties, but dared not wipe off their sweat in front of the cameras. Even worse, a huge flag bearing the party logo was blown off its post. Party workers could also not provide a full list of those present due to apparent nervousness. DAB chairman Tsang Yok-sing admitted that the flag incident at the start of the battle was not a good omen. 'But at least we caught it from falling in time,' he said. 'The DAB is like that every time danger approaches.' Democrat leaders, on the other hand, are being cautious and avoided a head-on clash with their sworn enemies so early in the battle. Instead of marching in to the Kwai Ching government office with his 10 candidates seeking seats in the district, party vice-chairman Lee Wing-tat took his comrades to a restaurant for tea while the DAB candidates were handing in their nomination forms. The group reappeared 30 minutes later - after a party staffer gave the all-clear when the last of their DAB rivals left the office. An embarrassed Mr Lee said: 'It was a good opportunity to go for tea, wasn't it?'