The chief executive yesterday sidestepped a question about who should be held responsible if, as seems increasingly likely, Legco vetoes electoral reform for the second time on his watch. People should stay calm and be objective, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said in response. The government is proposing to add 10 seats to the Legislative Council - five of them in the district councils functional constituency, to be voted on by 405 elected district councillors - and increasing by half the membership of the Election Committee that picks the chief executive. The prospects of success for the proposal dimmed last week when the Alliance for Universal Suffrage announced that it would urge its supporters, among them 15 pan-democrat lawmakers, to oppose the proposal and to vote against it if the government did not adjust it. On Sunday, Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said if the proposal was vetoed Tsang should face a motion of no confidence for polarising society and making Hong Kong ungovernable. As he left for an official visit to Shanghai yesterday, Tsang refused to discuss the consequences of another veto of electoral reforms following that in 2005, when pan-democrats voted down a similar proposal which, like the current one, contained no promise of universal suffrage nor a timetable for its implementation. 'Our responsibility is to be responsible to the Hong Kong public,' he said. 'We shouldn't talk about responsibility now. Our greatest responsibility is to try to come up with the best proposal and forge consensus.' He said it was important to maintain communication. Yesterday, alliance representatives met Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung. Electoral reforms must be approved by two-thirds of the Legislative Council. The chamber has 18 pan-democrats, but another five are likely to be returned in by-elections next month. That would give the camp enough votes for a veto. So far, neither side has indicated they are prepared to compromise. Both the alliance, which is seen as moderate, and the Civic Party and League of Social Democrats - which hope to make the by-elections a de facto referendum on the pace and scope of democratisation - want stronger assurances that elections in 2017 and 2020 will comply with international standards of universal and equal suffrage. Lam praised the alliance's efforts to communicate with the government but said the administration could not change its reform proposal or make any proposals about the conduct of elections beyond 2012.Instead, he said the talks gave the government an opportunity to assess the situation and try to convince political parties and lawmakers to allow electoral reform 'to take a step forward'. Fung Wai-wah, convenor of the alliance, acknowledged that nothing concrete resulted from the discussion. However, he remains optimistic and said arrangements would be made for another meeting. 'It was never going to be possible to resolve everything in one meeting,' he said. One pan-democrat who attended the meeting suggested the alliance form an expert group to suggest changes to the government proposal. The government could use the preamble to its Legco resolution on electoral changes for 2012 to satisfy the camp's demand for a pledge that elections would comply with principles of universal and equal suffrage. The person, who declined to be named, said such a move would facilitate a more focused discussion.