The government is prepared to consider phasing out appointed district council seats from 2007 as a step towards the ultimate goal of electing all legislators by universal suffrage, according to sources close to the administration. Scrapping all appointed seats in the next district council election, scheduled for the end of 2007, would be too hasty, the sources said. The pro-democracy camp has vowed to oppose the government's proposals for the electoral arrangement for 2007 and 2008 if appointed district councillors are allowed to sit on the election committee that will select the next chief executive or vote for an expected expanded number of Legislative Council seats reserved for district councillors. The government is expected to name all 529 councillors, of whom 102 were appointed by the administration, to an expanded 1,600-member election committee that will choose the chief executive in 2007. Under the proposal, which is expected to be released next month, district councils would be given five more functional constituency seats in Legco. They now have one. The government plans to launch a review of the composition and function of district councils as early as the end of the year. 'The current district council representative in Legco was chosen by fellow councillors, including the appointed members, and hopefully the number of Legco seats contested by the councillors will increase in 2008,' a source said. 'It would be more acceptable to the public if the number of appointed district councillors gradually reduced. It would also be in line with the direction of reaching the ultimate goal of electing the Legco by universal suffrage.' But the sources said the pace of phasing out the appointed seats would depend on the views of the community. Allen Lee Peng-fei, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, said he had heard that the government planned to abolish the appointed seats on district councils in 2011. 'But there is a possibility that the government would scrap all appointed seats in exchange for the pro-democracy camp's support for its packages for electoral arrangements in 2007 and 2008,' he said. Meanwhile, the sources said Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen might announce a plan to appoint one or two assistants to ministers when he delivers his maiden policy address next month. 'The chief executive is unlikely to make a big move as many issues relating to the concept of introducing a layer of ministers' assistants have to be sorted out,' a source said.