A two-house legislature is a step backwards in democratisation because it was rejected by Basic Law drafters in the 1980s, Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said. The idea is among those being considered by government advisers. The tycoon also warned that it would be impossible for protesters to force Beijing to present a more democratic reform package than the current one, no matter how many people march for universal suffrage. 'People believe the reform proposal will be changed if many people march on December 4. They also think that if 500,000 turn up on the streets there will be universal suffrage. This is not going to happen. You cannot force the central government to do something,' Mr Tien said. He said the government's idea of exploring a bicameral system in the advisory Commission of Strategic Development, which will meet today to discuss constitutional reform, would complicate the democratisation process. 'If we want a two-house system, then there is a need to amend the Basic Law. This is not discussing something for progress, but a return to what had already been discussed and decided against in the 1980s,' Mr Tien said. He said the business sector had always wanted to gradually eliminate the number of functional constituency seats until only directly elected ones remained. 'It can be done in a decade's time and it's better than an upper house. If we created it, it would never go away.' He noted that the Business and Professionals Federation was one of several bodies pushing the idea, which the government is believed to favour but democrats criticise as delaying universal suffrage. Mr Tien said the chief executive should be elected by universal suffrage in 2012, with a nominating committee screening candidates to give Beijing and the business sector peace of mind. On the question of when the Legislative Council could be fully returned by direct election, Mr Tien said it could be done in three stages, starting by replacing the functional constituency seats for the labour and education sectors with directly elected ones.