The chief executive has reiterated the government's position that now is not the time to decide the future of Legco's functional constituencies. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen cited the difficulty of winning over the half of the legislature elected to represent these trade-based seats. 'Those who will vote ... half of them will be from the functional constituencies. So you have to be able to persuade them ... I feel that the question of abolishing functional constituencies should not be decided at this time. There are things which can be postponed for discussion later,' Tsang said in an interview with TVB broadcast last night. He used the interview to urge lawmakers not to stick to their guns on political reform and thereby miss an opportunity to make progress towards universal suffrage. 'Using traditional methods, which means polarising methods, to discuss this [issue] has meant it dragged on for more than 20 years. How to move forward within the framework of 2012 - this can be discussed together,' he said. The government has launched a public consultation on proposed electoral reforms in 2012. Its ideas are to create 10 extra seats, five of them in an expanded district councils functional constituency and five directly elected, and to expand by half the Election Committee that will pick the chief executive. Pan-democrats say the ideas are similar to those they vetoed in 2005. However, the chief executive said there was not a lot of scope to amend the proposals set out for consultation. Two pan-democrat groups, the Civic Party and the League of Social Democrats, advocate five pan-democrat lawmakers - one from each of the geographical constituencies - resigning to trigger by-elections. They see these as a de facto referendum on the camp's demand for the scrapping of functional constituencies and the election of Legco and the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2012. Meanwhile, a regular University of Hong Kong poll shows Tsang's popularity has bounced back to near what it was before he gave his policy address in October. Tsang's support rating was 2.3 points higher than earlier this month, at 53.3 marks out of 100, and 43 per cent of respondents said they would vote for his re-election if they could, a rise of four percentage points. In mid-October, the latter figure was also 43 per cent, but if fell to 34.6 per cent after the policy address.