Three policy think-thanks are planning to stage an election forum so candidates for chief executive can showcase their policies. SynergyNet, Civic Exchange and the Hong Kong Policy Research Institute want to hold a forum even if acting Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is the only contender. 'Of course we don't want to see only one candidate. But if there is only [Mr Tsang], we still want to invite him to talk about his vision and platforms,' SynergyNet chairman Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said. This is the first time the three policy think-tanks have joined forces to encourage public participation in the so-called 'small-circle' election process. Professor Cheung said it was important to pin down what candidates stood for. 'Candidates in a democratic election process should try their best to explain their vision and platforms to the public,' he said. 'But as a think-tank, we have no plan to encourage people to run. Unlike think-tanks in the US or Taiwan, we don't have political affiliations.' The academic, a former vice-chairman of the Democratic Party, questioned the joint ticket being considered by the Liberal Party and the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong. 'The Liberals and the DAB have fundamental differences in their platforms. On what basis can they jointly field a candidate? It appears to me that it's not something well thought out,' he said. He also doubted whether the DAB would ultimately vote for the jointly sponsored candidate, as Beijing's preference was clearly for Mr Tsang. But Professor Cheung believed Beijing would not mind having another challenger in the race as long as that person's presence did not pose a risk to Mr Tsang's bid for the top job. He said it remained difficult for a democrat to secure the 100 nominations required to stand. The democrats should therefore consider backing another challenger acceptable to them, Professor Cheung said. But he believed the democrats would not go as far as putting aside fundamental differences and co-ordinating with the Liberals and DAB on a cross-party contender for the chief executive.