Manipulation of the chief executive election should be prevented by enlarging the Election Committee to 3,000 members or more, the government was urged yesterday. The administration was also told there was a pressing need to create an electoral system that would increase the chief executive's credibility. The comments emerged during the first cross-sector focus group discussion on constitutional reform organised by the government. Speaking after the two-hour session, City University academic James Sung Lap-kung said it was agreed that if the 800-member Election Committee was expanded to more than 3,000, the chance of any candidate being able to dominate nominations would be minimal. In the last chief executive election, Tung Chee-hwa received more than 700 nominations in his bid for a second term and became the only candidate. Yesterday's session was attended by more than 30 leading figures from the business, religious, social service and labour sectors. Eddie Ng Hak-kim, of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management, who chaired one of the groups, said participants believed it was important to prevent manipulation of the election. University of Hong Kong social work professor Nelson Chow Wing-sun, who chaired another discussion, said it was widely agreed that priority should be given to raising the credibility of the chief executive and the representativeness of the Election Committee members. Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said the discussion had been frank and deep. The government's constitutional development taskforce, led by Mr Tsang, had been criticised for organising two earlier seminars where hundreds of participants were only allowed to make brief statements on their stance on reform.