Beijing may never introduce universal suffrage in Hong Kong because people in the city were apparently happy with the way Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was chosen as chief executive without the need for a democratic election, the Liberal Party chairman says. James Tien Pei-chun also said that whether he would run in the 2007 chief executive election would depend on his own popularity and that of Mr Tsang at the time. Mr Tien, who decided not to run against Mr Tsang after unfavourable results in opinion polls, said the central government had made a calculated move to anoint Mr Tsang to quieten public aspirations for democratic reform. 'I am afraid the central government will continue to find someone with high popularity and will never give us universal suffrage,' Mr Tien said in an interview. 'People in Hong Kong are very pragmatic and seem happy with Mr Tsang. They didn't say they want democratic elections.' Mr Tien, a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, has spearheaded the expansion of the pro-business Liberal Party in the legislature and is known for his ambition to become chief executive. 'Popularity ratings can fluctuate quite radically in a matter of two years. As politicians, we of course would consider the polls. I won't go ahead myself ... if I am not popular,' he said. 'This is what the central government wants - someone popular. Beijing has seen through the minds of Hong Kong people. I hope Donald will do well because even if we are not going to be the ruling party, we can share power as friends in supporting him.' He said if Mr Tsang wanted better relations with pro-government parties, he should give non-official Executive Council members - such as the Liberal's Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee - the power to raise issues rather than the present practice of 'acting as rubber stamps'. He said Mr Tsang should also remove non-official members who were not from political parties 'because they have power without the responsibilities' to back the government in Legco. Mr Tien said he would lead the Liberal Party in its quest to win more seats in the 2008 Legco election by encouraging legislators from the functional constituencies to run in direct elections.