The pan-democratic camp is planning to field up to 300 candidates in this year's district council elections, which will also see an unprecedented partnership between the Democratic Party and Civic Party in canvassing activities. Party leaders hope the combined strength of the traditional democratic party and the new party with a professional and middle-class image will help gain ground in districts previously held by Beijing loyalists and conservatives. This renewed co-operation between the parties and their allies comes after the campaign of Alan Leong Kah-kit, who was the camp's first candidate in the chief executive election last month. Democrat Lee Wing-tat, who is co-ordinating his party's campaign strategy, said the parties are planning to utilise the strength of each by entering a new partnership to maximise votes. 'We have started working together in district networking,' Mr Lee said. 'The Democratic Party can concentrate on the grass roots, public housing areas where we have already spent a lot of time working, while the Civic Party can focus on private housing estates.' The Democratic Party, which plans to field about 120 candidates, among them more than 40 election rookies, expects to do more than defend its 77 seats in the 18 districts. 'We also hope to see the Civic Party get more seats, although we have spent a much longer time in district work,' Mr Lee said. 'We can fight for universal suffrage with more strength.' Ronny Tong Ka-wah, of the Civic Party, said his party plans to field about 40 candidates, but the number won't be finalised until June. It has four district councillors. He said the party will appeal to voters with their 'professional, pragmatic and proactive' image, and many of its candidates will be young professionals running with platforms for universal suffrage and a better living standing. But because it was formed just more than a year ago, Mr Tong said the party was still assessing whether members could build support in some districts. Democrat Sin Chung-kai, serving as liaison among pan-democratic parties, said fewer than 10 constituencies have more than one pan-democrat planning to run. The Frontier, the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood and the League of Social Democrats are also mobilising their district networks. The camp is expected to field more than 300 candidates for the councils' 405 seats. But they face stiff opposition from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which plans to field more than 100 candidates, and the Liberal Party.