S.Korean political groups to form new party to challenge two major parties

A group of politicians who left South Korea's two major political parties say they will launch a new party ahead of the country's April general election.

Four political parties and factions said on Friday that they had agreed to merge into one new party.

A general election, held every four years, is slated for April 10. The ruling People Power Party and the largest opposition Democratic Party are selecting their official candidates.

The new party will be called the New Reform Party, adopting the name of one of the four groups, which was established in January.

Lee Jun-seok, the leader of the current New Reform Party, and former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, who left the largest opposition party, will be co-leaders of the new party.

A lawmaker at Friday's news conference said the new party will field candidates, in single-seat constituencies, who will be able to "destroy" the two major parties' monopoly.

The ruling party and the largest opposition party have been at odds over a wide range of issues. They often criticize each other using harsh language.

Observers point to the people's distrust of the two parties. Attention will be on how much impact the new party as the third force will have on the election.