Founder of Danish party to become independent

Naser KhaderCopenhagen - A founder of the New Alliance party, which was formed in 2007, said Monday he was to leave the party and become an independent in parliament.

Syrian-born Naser Khader said he had used the holiday break to consider his political future and decided he would leave the centrist party that, last August, was renamed the Liberal Alliance.

Khader said his "gut feeling was not sufficient" to remain in the party, adding "you also need to have your heart in it," according to a statement published on his website.

Among the reasons he cited for leaving was that the party had become "too liberalistic," while he favoured a broader, bipartisan approach.

Media reports suggested that Khader was about to be replaced as party leader later this month and wanted to seize the initiative.

The New Alliance party soared in opinion polls after it was formed in May 2007, when Khader left the opposition Social Liberals. But, after entering parliament in the November 2007 elections with five seats, it has disintegrated and suffered several defections.

One of New Alliance's aims was to reduce the influence of the populist Danish People's Party over immigration policies. The populists provide backing for Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's minority government.

In a related development, a former member of the Social Liberals, Simon Emil Ammitzboll who became an independent in October 2008, was reported to be planning to unveil a new political party.

Khader told broadcaster TV2 he had no plans to join the new party. (dpa)