Albert Ho admits Civic Party will pose competition in 2008 election The Democratic Party faced losing seats in the next Legislative Council election in 2008 because of competition from the Civic Party, chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan admitted yesterday. But the newly elected party chief said the two parties had a 'symbiotic' relationship and the overall effect should be an increase in the pan-democratic camp's numbers from the present 25. 'We have to recognise that none of the political parties in Hong Kong have any chance of becoming the ruling party and we are trapped in a predicament. That's why we have to seek a breakthrough in order to create more room [for development],' Mr Ho said. 'The rise of the Civic Party is beneficial to the democratic movement and can help expand the support the public gives to the pan-democratic camp,' he said. The Democratic Party is the third largest in the Legislative Council with nine seats, behind the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong with 12 and the Liberal Party with 10. The Civic Party has six. The success of the pan-democrats in the December 10 Election Committee poll has prompted speculation that the Democratic Party's 'flagship' status in the camp is under threat, as the Civic Party played a key role in co-ordinating the camp's efforts. Democratic Party vice-chairman Sin Chung-kai warned against being too optimistic about prospects for the District Council and Legislative Council elections as a result of gains in several sub-sectors in the Election Committee poll. He said these elections were different in nature. 'If you asked the voters who they voted for [in the Election Committee poll], they probably wouldn't remember the names of the candidates, as what they voted for was a contested chief executive election,' Mr Sin said. The party plans to field more than 100 candidates in the District Council elections next year, and 20 to 30 per cent would be newcomers, he said. It has 78 district councillors. Mr Sin said the Democrats had met the Civic Party, the League of Social Democrats and other pan-democratic groups to co-ordinate their election efforts to avoid direct competition. The co-ordination effort was spearheaded by Power for Democracy led by scholar Joseph Cheng Yu-shek. Mr Ho said he had had 'communications' with the mainland authorities but refused to disclose details. 'Without making any compromise, our party is willing to have dialogues and communications with the central government,' he said. As a legislator, he said he would fight for establishing a working relationship with the central authorities. 'Even though they ban us from entering the mainland to visit our relatives or to travel, at least we, as legislators, should be able to join some inspection tours,' he said. The Democratic Party last night elected 15 executive committee members. Peggy Ha Ving-voon was elected secretary-general and Cheung Yin-tung treasurer.