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Landslide Election Win for Japan’s Opposition Expected

Posted August. 21, 2009 08:20,   


The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan is expected to win 300 of the 480 parliamentary seats up for grabs in the Aug. 30 general elections, the Japanese daily Asahi said yesterday.

The newspaper polled 150 out of 300 small electoral districts, and found that the opposition party will win 200-210 seats in such districts and 80-90 seats under the proportional representative system.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is expected to take less than 100 seats in small electoral districts and 60 proportional representative seats. The ruling party is losing ground even in rural areas, its historical support base, and senior members who served as ministers are struggling.

When the House of Representatives was dissolved, the Liberal Democratic Party held 300 seats and the Democratic Party 113 seats.

If the opposition party gains 300 seats, it can run state affairs independently. Skeptics, however, say a decisive victory is unlikely because electorates will vote for the ruling party to check its rival’s dominance.

If the Democratic Party scores an overwhelming win in the elections, “Ozawa children,” or those close to former party leader Ichiro Ozawa, will become lawmakers en masse.

Ozawa resigned as party chief due to a political funding scandal in May. Since then, he has focused on election campaigns as the party’s acting leader in charge of elections.

He also took the lead in selecting candidates and chose most of the external candidates by himself. Among 100 candidates for proportional representative seats, the majority is said to be Ozawa’s close confidants.

The pro-Ozawa group is the largest faction in the Democratic Party with 50 members, and the pro-Yukio Hatoyama group is the second largest. The elections are expected to further widen the gap between the two groups.

In the 2005 elections, more than 80 supporters of Junichiro Koizumi were elected to parliament after he helped the Liberal Democratic Party clinch a landslide victory. Ozawa will do the same thing this time in further strengthening his influence, according to experts.

If the Democratic Party takes power, Ozawa is expected to assume a major party post instead of joining the Cabinet.