Former Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun has expressed interest in running for a Legco seat representing the district councils if it is opened to non-district councillors. Tien, who lost his Legco seat in New Territories East in the 2008 election, said he would not rule out seeking such a comeback under the newly passed constitutional reform package, which will create five new district council seats in Legco. 'This is very attractive, especially for business sector people who have the resources to run a territory-wide campaign,' Tien said. 'If the election expenses ceiling is HK$10 million, it means the candidate can run newspaper adverts many times.' Independent Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee is also considering running for a district council seat on The Peak. At present, a candidate in a geographical constituency can legally spend up to HK$2.6 million on the campaign. Officials say the expense ceiling for the new district council seats, which may be returned via one single constituency with 3.2 million voters, should be higher. Candidates for the extra seats will be nominated by elected district councillors. But the proposals, accepted by the government and endorsed by Legco, do not make clear if only district councillors can stand. In a meeting with Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen yesterday, members of the Alliance for Universal Suffrage said the cap should be set at HK$5 million - arguing anything higher would deter smaller parties from fielding candidates. Tien, who previously served in Central and Western District Council representing The Peak constituency, said he would be too busy for district work. But he said former district councillors like himself should be allowed to run for the new seats. The Democratic Party says people with 'substantial connections' to district councils should be eligible to stand, in line with rules for existing functional constituencies. Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, and former Legco president, said yesterday such a proposal should be considered. She was not worried if the winners would be irrelevant to the sector if non-councillors were allowed to run, saying the hopefuls still needed to secure nominations from councillors. Meanwhile, Fan and fellow Beijing-loyalist Tsang Hin-chi, a former NPC Standing Committee member, defended Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's role in ensuring passage of the reform package. Critics say the breakthrough was the result of negotiations between the Democrats and Beijing. Fan said: 'I believe his position as chief executive made it inappropriate for him to unveil efforts before the reform reached maturity.' Tsang Hin-chi said: 'The chief executive's endorsement was a vital step for the passage of the reform proposal. How can people say Donald Tsang was useless in the reform?' Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, who negotiated the deal with Beijing on the 2012 reform, said Donald Tsang was 'quite useless' in the talks. Separately, the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, which plans to field about 30 candidates in the 2011 district council elections, is reviewing its plan. Association lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee said the group would launch another round of discussions to see if more members were interested in contesting.