South Korea's biggest opposition party changes name for second time in three years

South Korea's biggest opposition party changes name for second time in three years

SEOUL: South Korea's main opposition party changed its name for the second time in three years on Monday because it seeks to forge a conservative alliance against left-leaning President Moon Jae-in before April polls.

The country's political parties have a bent to adopt new names to sever ties with a tainted past or appeal to a wider audience.

The Liberty Korea Party -- a reputation it only began using in 2017 because it sought to distance itself from a corruption scandal swirling now-ousted president Park Geun-hye -- has declared itself the United Future party while absorbing into its ranks two minor conservative allies.

The same name was previously employed by a minor centrist party in New Zealand that was a part of governing coalitions from 2005 to 2017 but has since dissolved.

Liberty Korea was itself formerly referred to as Saenuri, or New Frontier, a reputation Park bestowed thereon in 2012.

Before that it had been called the Grand National Party, which was formed from a merger of several centre-right parties in 1997.

The organisation has struggled since Park's fall, affected by defections by lawmakers and splits within the conservative bloc in parliament.

It is now seeking to unify forces against Moon before parliamentary elections in April.

United Future said during a statement that Monday's merger was a response to a "solemn demand of the people to repair the country".

The move means the party now has 113 seats within the 295-member National Assembly.