A new pro-Beijing party says the next chief executive should come from the middle class. Founded by Beijing-friendly businesspeople and professionals, the People's Party has also pledged to take part in the election for the next leader. The party, which was formally launched at a hotel in Causeway Bay yesterday, claims a membership of 1,000, mostly from the middle class. Party spokesman Samuel Yang said it aimed to become a ruling party. 'We are not a talking shop, we want to participate in politics,' he said. Mr Yang said there was not enough time for the party to field its own candidate in the July election. But he said the leader should be a middle-class figure rather than a businessman like Tung Chee-hwa. The party stopped short of giving explicit support to Donald Tsang Yam-kuen as the next leader, but acknowledged he came from the middle class and had good public service experience. When asked about the row over the new chief executive's term, Mr Yang said there were advantages for both two years and five years. He hoped the dispute could be resolved in Hong Kong, but said Beijing had the power to make an interpretation of the Basic Law. The party said it supported setting up an economic zone on the outskirts of Hong Kong with preferential tax, immigration and planning policies to attract investors from overseas and the mainland. The new party claims it has members from a wide political spectrum, including the Liberal Party, the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong and the National People's Congress.