(LEAD) New party led by DP defectors sets sail ahead of April elections

SEOUL, A new political party led by defectors of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) set sail Sunday, with around two months to go until the April 10 parliamentary elections. The "New Future" party was launched as a merger between two groups led respectively by former DP leader Lee Nak-yon and three lawmakers -- Reps. Cho Eung-chon, Lee Won-wook and Kim Jong-min -- though Cho and Lee Won-wook declined to take part at the last minute, taking issue with what they described as "merger by absorption." During the party's launching ceremony at the National Assembly, Lee Nak-yon and Kim were announced as the party's co-leaders. "I will sternly judge the Yoon Suk Yeol administration, which is unstable in every way, and replace the Democratic Party that is trapped in the swamp of corruption and immorality," Lee Nak-yon said in his acceptance speech. Reps. Cho, Lee and Kim had left the DP, criticizing the way Chairman Lee Jae-myung runs the party, amid views they were unlikely to win party nominations for th e upcoming elections. The series of departures raised questions about whether there will be more people leaving the DP, especially sitting lawmakers, and how much impact this would have on the elections. Park Won-suk, a former lawmaker who is part of preparations for the new party, told reporters the party aims to set policies for the middle-income class, as well as national interests. Source: Yonhap News Agency