New name for South Korea's ruling party

image captionPark Geun-hye (R) said the move would allow the party to be reborn

South Korea's ruling party has decided to change its name, three months before its term in power ends.

The party will no longer be called the Grand National Party, but the "Saenori" or "New World" Party.

It says the name change is meant to reflect a new Korea in which people can overcome differences and unite.

The move is being seen as one of several attempts by political parties in South Korea to combat voter alienation ahead of elections in April.

The change reflects just how difficult the ruling party is finding it to win voters' support, reports the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Seoul.

Its interim leader and presumed presidential candidate Park Geun-hye has said she wants deep-seated reform.

"At the moment, the party is being criticised for its faults," she said in a statement.

But changing its values, its personnel and even its name would allow it to be "reborn as completely new party".

Talk of reform and rebirth by politicians from both sides is becoming more common here, our correspondent says, as polls suggest voters are drifting away from the big main parties towards independent candidates.

Seoul's mayoral election late last year brought to power a political novice with a history of social activism.

Since then, the main opposition Democratic Party has merged with one of its smaller rivals to become the Democratic United Party.

And both ruling and opposition politicians have been working to stress their grassroots credentials - by using social media and opening up internal party issues to the public.

The ruling party has been known as the GNP since 1997. Its new name was chosen from suggestions from members of the public.

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