The eight faces picked by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to sit on his cabinet shed light on his strategy and policy agenda in the next 20 months - and most probably in the five years after 2007. Politically, the new members are largely centrist; they have either a moderate outlook or no strong political inclinations. None of them has affiliations with any political party or grouping. It is hardly coincidence that both Ronald Arculli and Anthony Cheung Bing-leung - who were once members of the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party respectively - no longer carry party labels. In fact, Mr Tsang made it clear that he would not turn the Executive Council into another battlefield of rival parties. Instead, he is attempting to emulate the success of the elitist system of the colonial era in order to cope with changes in the new political landscape. Capitalising on the negative public perception of political parties, Mr Tsang has emphasised the outstanding achievements of the new members in their respective fields, such as finance and banking, manufacturing, law, academe, accountancy and medicine. He has attempted to convey an image of a new Exco with the finest brains, individuals who can think and give the best advice on policies free from partisan politics - not a product of pork-barrel politics inherited from Tung Chee-hwa. The respective expertise of the new members is also indicative of the priorities on Mr Tsang's policy agenda, which include measures to further promote financial services, health-care financing, the business environment and governance. The return to an elitist make-up in Exco has consigned to history the notion of a ruling coalition spearheaded by Mr Tung after the so-called accountability system of ministerial responsibility was introduced. This is because relying on Exco members with political- party affiliations to help lobby for votes in Legco has proved a dismal failure. Mr Tsang would have reflected deeply on the about-turn of James Tien Pei-chun of the Liberal Party over the national security bill. Yet the inherent contradictions between the executive and legislative branches remain. Mr Tsang is betting on a bigger hand from the elite to help ensure policies are based on objective analysis, sound judgment and a good grasp of public opinion. It may sound simple and naive, but his bigger bet is that good policies sell.