The best outcome the pro-democracy camp can hope for in the 2008 Legco election is to take 31 of the proposed 70 seats in the legislature, academics said yesterday. The government has proposed adding 10 seats to Legco, half for the geographical constituencies and half for functional constituencies. The new functional constituency legislators would be returned by district councillors, who now return only one legislator. All district councillors, including government appointees, will be entitled to vote for their representatives in Legco. But the administration did not spell out the voting methods for the six functional constituencies contested by the district councillors, saying the details would be dealt with in the local legislation scheduled to be presented to the legislature in 2007. If the block vote system is adopted, each district councillor would be allowed to vote for six candidates. Such a voting system regularly produces landslide majorities for the group of candidates with the highest level of support. Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at Chinese University, said the pro-government camp could agree on a common candidate list and sweep all six seats returned by the district council functional constituencies. Chan Kin-man, associate professor with the university's department of sociology, said the democrats might win two out of six seats if the single transferable vote system was adopted. The single transferable vote, adopted in 1995 for electing the 10 legislators returned by an electoral college comprising all district councillors, is a preferential voting system designed to provide proportional representation in multicandidate elections. The system initially allocates an individual's vote to their most preferred candidate and then subsequently transfers unneeded or unused votes after candidates are either elected or eliminated according to the voter's stated preferences. Dr Chan said that based on the democrats' share of votes in last year's Legco election, the pro-democracy camp could win up to 22 of 35 directly elected seats, including three of the five new extra directly elected seats, in 2008. The pro-democracy camp grabbed 19 of 30 directly elected seats in last year's poll by clinching about 62 per cent of the votes cast. Along with the two district council seats that are likely to be won by the pro-democracy camp, the democrats might secure up to nine seats returned by functional constituencies in the 2008 poll if they retain the seven functional seats they won in last year's election. 'Even in the best-case scenario, the democrats could only win 31 Legco seats,' said Dr Chan.