The Democratic Party yesterday opposed cutting election expense limits in line with deflation, predicting next year's Legislative Council election would be more competitive than previous ones. Legislators have been asked to assess the formula for calculating the limits at a constitutional affairs panel meeting on Monday. One of the options is to adjust the figure downwards following deflation of 7.3 per cent since 2000. The Constitutional Affairs Bureau said it was in favour of the 'status quo'' option. In a document to the panel, it said the present election limits had worked well since 1998. 'There has not been any strong voice demanding any adjustments,' it said. Democrat Cheung Man-kwong said the party still needed to discuss which formula would be the best. 'I think it should be fine to keep the current limit because we never exceeded the limit,' he said. 'The competition will be high as we are expecting that there will be more voters and candidates next year.' The current formula calculates expense limits for each of the five geographical constituencies by multiplying the population number by $1.50. The number is rounded up to the nearest $500,000. The current formula boosts the expense limits for New Territories West by $500,000, to $3 million, because the population has grown nearly 200,000 in the past three years. The 'deflation adjustment' option would reduce the multiplier amount from $1.50 to $1.39. Legislator Frederick Fung Kin-kee, of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, said the party had not considered the issue seriously. He said election expense limits in the past seemed to be acceptable. Meanwhile, the government yesterday gazetted a regulation for printing candidates' photos and party emblems on ballot papers in Legco elections.