More second-tier members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong will be encouraged to run in this year's Legislative Council election. But party leaders say regrouping planned by their rivals will not affect the DAB's strategy. The remarks by party chairman Tam Yiu-chung and vice-chairman Ip Kwok-him came a day after veteran Democrat Yeung Sum announced he would step down from the party's political front line to make way for new blood. Speaking after a rally marking the start of five-year terms for the party's 129 new district councillors, Mr Ip said the DAB was planning to field a large number of new faces in the Legco election, which was a training ground for future talent. 'We will definitely provide more chances for second-tier members with potential and capability to run in the election,' he said. But he would not confirm whether former chairman Tsang Yok-sing would take a back seat, as rumoured, in defending his Kowloon West seat by fielding his protege, Starry Lee Wai-king, as the lead candidate on the party list. 'Mr Tsang has always matched his words with deeds when he said he wanted the youngsters to rise. He was not like somebody who only talked about it,' Mr Ip said. On Hong Kong Island, where Beijing loyalists can expect to win three of the six seats, Mr Ip said Dr Yeung's de facto stepping down by planning to ask a second-tier Democrat to lead the party list would not affect the DAB's strategy. But he said former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who is expected to run in the constituency, would pose a bigger threat to the DAB's prospects, as Mrs Ip and the party shared the same pool of government-friendly voters. Mrs Ip stood in last month's Legco by-election in the constituency but lost to former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang. 'Competition is unavoidable,' Mr Ip said. 'We will definitely mobilise our own supporters to vote for us. How can we ask them to vote for somebody else?' Mr Tam said the party would soon draw up its list of candidates to contest the five geographical constituencies. It is unclear who will head the party's list on Hong Kong Island, where incumbent Choy So-yuk will be under pressure. With no increase in the total number of seats in the 30-seat Legco geographical constituencies, political parties from the pan-democratic and government-loyalist camps have been seeking ways to allow second-tier members to rise. Dr Yeung's move to take a political back seat was welcomed by Democrats Kam Nai-wai and Andrew Fung Wai-kwong, both aspirants in the Hong Kong Island constituency. With the government starting to introduce another two layers of deputy ministers and political assistants, the DAB and the Liberal Party can expect to see some of their top young members named as political appointees as early as this month.