In a bid for unity among white liberals, three anti-apartheid political parties announced Saturday they have merged in anticipation of national elections this year.

The formation of the new party, to be known as the Democratic Party, is an attempt to broaden the political base of white liberals, who are widely seen as being in a state of disarray.The party will be launched formally in Johannesburg on April 8, but "concerted planning and action begin today," the organization said Saturday after a meeting.

The Democratic Party will have three leaders who presently are serving as the heads of the merging parties.