The Liberal Party is planning to seek support from the pan-democratic camp during the election of 36 Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress next month. As well as stepping up canvassing for the race to the national legislature, the pro-business party will also discuss plans to recommend candidates for deputy minister and political assistant positions. Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said yesterday his party planned to field three candidates in the NPC election - incumbent Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun, party vice-chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee, and legislator Tommy Cheung Yu-yan. Mr Cheung has yet to decide whether he will run. A panel of 1,234 - including the 796 Election Committee members - nominates candidates and elects the deputies. Candidates need at least 10 nominees to run. The panel is expected to include 100 pan-democrats. Each panel member has 36 votes. Mr Tien said support from pan-democrat voters would be 'a key element' to success and lobbying would start soon. In the last election, in 2002, former Liberal Party member Allen Lee Peng-fei only narrowly won his seat in the national legislature after the party found it difficult to get support from many Beijing loyalists. 'From a business point of view, I would ask the pan-democrats to vote for us - a more middle-ground party - since they have to fill in 36 names anyway,' Mr Tien said. But he said his party would not support the pan-democrats, who are expected to field only James To Kun-sun. Democrat Yeung Sum said his party was not keen to participate in the NPC election because there would be no debates or forums before the polls. Meanwhile, the Liberal Party leadership next week will discuss who to recommend for posts in the government's two new tiers of political appointees. Mr Tien said several party members had already indicated their intention to put their names forward for them.