The government is in no hurry to announce the new lineup of the Executive Council or fill the remaining vacancies for political appointees, according to sources familiar with the situation. A political analyst believes the weeks of dithering about Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's cabinet and the further expansion of the political appointment system reflected the government's inclination to avoid further controversy in the wake of criticism of its handling of a litany of sensitive issues last year. One of the sources said the government's top priority at this stage was steering Hong Kong through the global financial crisis. 'The government is concentrating its efforts on minimising the impact of the financial storm. Other matters became secondary compared with economic issues,' the source said. The source added that there was no urgency to resolve thorny issues, such as health-care financing and the old age allowance. An Exco reshuffle has been looming since Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee's defeat in September's Legislative Council election and the expected departure of four other members of Mr Tsang's cabinet. In his policy address in October, Mr Tsang said he would appoint new members to Exco 'shortly'. It is understood that Mr Tsang told members of the Civic Party at a lunch last month that the new members would be announced soon. A spokesman for the Chief Executive's Office said the government would make an announcement at an appropriate time. Lau Wong-fat, the Heung Yee Kuk chairman who has been tipped to join the cabinet, said he had not received any offer. Entrepreneur Allan Zeman, who renounced his Canadian citizenship, is understood to have received an offer earlier. But there is speculation his appointment met with obstacles. Allen Lee Peng-fei, a political commentator and former deputy to the National People's Congress, said Mr Tsang had encountered difficulties in finding candidates. 'Some of Mr Tsang's favoured candidates have rejected his offers,' Mr Lee said. Incumbent executive councillors Charles Lee Yeh-kwong, Andrew Liao Cheung-sing, Laura Cha Shih May-lung and Rafael Hui Si-yan are expected to stand down. Meanwhile, a government source said their was no urgency to fill the remaining posts of undersecretaries and political assistants. The government appointed eight undersecretaries and nine political assistants in May last year. But the administration was criticised for its handling of a row surrounding the foreign passports held by some political appointees and its initial reluctance to disclose individual salaries. 'The government is still looking for suitable candidates but it is unlikely that the new appointees will be announced in one go,' the source said. Mr Lee said the government had failed to find high-calibre candidates for the second batch of appointees. Ma Ngok, a political analyst at Chinese University, said the government appeared to be trying its best to avoid controversies. 'The government is unlikely to take initiatives in addressing tough issues, such as tax reform and old age allowance, in the next few years,' he said. Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said it seemed the government was adopting the approach of 'doing less' to minimise mistakes.