Lee Teng-hui seeks to end party standoff, lambasts Chen Former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui plans to form a third political force to counter the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the main opposition Kuomintang early next year. It would not rule out fielding a candidate for the island's presidency in 2008, a close ally of Mr Lee said yesterday. Taiwanese media and observers said it would mark a formal split between Mr Lee and his successor, President Chen Shui-bian, who has in the past year fought hard to take over from his mentor as leader of the pro-independence camp. Mr Lee has mulled forming influential but politically neutral figures into a third political force, cashing in on public annoyance with the confrontation between the pro-unification, opposition blue camp and pro-independence green camp over the past six years. 'The former president has long worried about the political standoff between the blue and the green camps as well as the widening ethnic split, thinking what Taiwan really needs is a middle-of-the-road force,' said Su Chin-chiang, chairman of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which regards Mr Lee as its spiritual leader. Serious political bickering between the opposition camp and President Chen's administration has been cited as a key reason for Taiwan's lacklustre political and economic performance since Mr Chen became president in 2000. Mr Su said the new force would group influential figures from various sectors, and might take shape in March or April - just a few months after mayoral elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung. The KMT is expected to have a fierce fight with the DPP during the December 9 mayoral elections in the two key cities. Mr Su said the third force would be able to exercise its influence only by way of 'structural formation' and it was a 'reasonable assumption' that it would exist in the form of a political party. Asked if his TSU would become the backbone of the new party, he said the TSU could become a key part of the new organisation. He declined to say whether the new force would field legislature speaker Wang Jin-pyng as a candidate to run for presidency in 2008 as local media have speculated. Taiwanese media speculated Mr Lee might recruit Mr Wang or former premier Frank Hsieh Chang-ting as a presidential candidate. Both Mr Wang and Mr Hsieh, who is running for the mayoral post in Taipei, said yesterday they had heard nothing from Mr Lee about such a plan. Political pundits said it was not surprising the 83-year-old Mr Lee planned to form a new political force as the former leader had shown signs of cutting ties with Mr Chen after what had been described as a 'father-son' relationship. Under mounting pressure to resign over a string of corruption scandals tied to him and his family since May, Mr Chen has strived to win support from the hard-line pro-independence camp to secure his position, but has come into conflict with Mr Lee, considered the godfather of the Taiwanese independence movement. In a public address late last month, Mr Lee squarely criticised Mr Chen for failing to achieve anything positive for Taiwan's development since taking office in 2000.