Former chief secretary's phone calls seeking support appear to be paying off Donald Tsang Yam-kuen hasn't formally launched his campaign for chief executive yet, but already more than a quarter of the Election Committee - representing pro-Beijing interests - looks like nominating him for the top job. Even so, he is taking no chances. Mr Tsang has taken to the phones to woo more support from the pro-Beijing camp - some of whose members are unenthusiastic about his candidacy. Several pro-Beijing figures said they had received phone calls from Mr Tsang as early as last Saturday. Last night the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong decided to urge its 103 electors on the 800-member committee to back Mr Tsang's candidacy. Speaking after a meeting of the DAB's central committee, party chairman Ma Lik praised Mr Tsang for his rich experience in public administration and said he was someone who 'loves China, loves Hong Kong'. Mr Ma said the DAB would appeal to its members on the Election Committee to support Mr Tsang's bid. 'But as all Election Committee members take part in the election in their personal capacity, we will not require our members on the committee to nominate or vote for Mr Tsang.' Asked why his party had taken so long to throw its weight behind Mr Tsang, Mr Ma said that, given the public's growing support for his candidacy, now was the right time for his party to lend its backing. As well as the DAB representatives, nearly 100 Election Committee members - representing farmers and fishermen, the Heung Yee Kuk and district councils in the New Territories - have agreed to support Mr Tsang, who is still awaiting central government approval of his resignation as chief secretary before putting his campaign into high gear. Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat said: 'Mr Tsang is well qualified for the post of chief executive given his competence and familiarity with the operations of the government. I wish him success in the election.' Mr Ma said Mr Tsang had called him to seek his support. Veteran leftist Xu Simin, an Election Committee member, said Mr Tsang phoned him several days ago and mentioned his candidacy for chief executive. Yeung Yiu-chung, a delegate to the National People's Congress, said Mr Tsang had also phoned him in the past few days. Mr Tsang yesterday invited Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference to join a private tea gathering tomorrow at a Wan Chai hotel. Tonight Mr Tsang will attend the funeral of Tsang Chiu-kan, the father of executive councillor and ex-DAB chairman Tsang Yok-sing.