Japan’s historic ruling party faces a possible slump in Sunday’s parliamentary elections

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is preparing to weather a storm in Japan’s lower house elections next Sunday, when his historic Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) registers the collapse of seats that all polls predict – another An expression of the voters’ extraordinary dissatisfaction with the national political class, which threatens to peak in these elections – which could mark the beginning of the end of a short career as head of the Japanese executive branch.

While there is no doubt that the PLD will win the most 465 seats at stake (which should be added by its coalition partner Conservative Komeito), it remains to be seen how many given the complexity of Japanese legislation set limits to certain majorities.

Japan’s historic ruling party faces a possible slump in Sunday’s parliamentary elections
Japan’s historic ruling party faces a possible slump in Sunday’s parliamentary elections

Right now, and according to polls, the PLD will get 236 seats, three over a simple majority, the minimum required to pass a bill in plenary. It must be remembered, however, that the PLD had 274 seats to date, far more than the 244 seats granted to it by the chairmanship of the committees and even the 261 seats required for the chairmanship and most of those committees.

This collapse would be doubly bad news for the Prime Minister. In practice this would be a huge limitation on the operational capabilities of his party in the House of Commons, which has the power to override decisions of the House of Lords, the Senate, on any matter where they disagree. Figuratively speaking, it would mean the consolidation of the disinterest that the figure of Kishida arouses in the electorate of a country where politics has taken on an increasingly personalistic aspect – once the inability of those responsible to attract people is proven population at the stroke of proposals -.

The opposition campaign of the socially progressive Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (PDCJ), which Kishida characterized as a mere extension of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and above all smoothed the rough edges, contributed to this. rival parties of the Prime Minister (such as the Communist Party) appear as a more or less closed front.

To give an example: In these elections, the PDL candidates in 132 constituencies will face heads or tails against a single opponent chosen by the consensus of the opposition. In the last edition of 2017, this type of confrontation only occurred in 57 constituencies.

The opposition knows that victory is out of reach. The PLD has ruled Japan almost continuously since 1955; No other party has managed the country for four consecutive years since World War II and its last term in office in the hands of the opposition – the Democratic Party of Japan, which has been in crisis since the PDCJ split off – from 2009 to In 2012, the Japanese remembered it as an era of chaos marked by the dance of governments and the Fukushima disaster.

Now the PDCJ’s polls predict about 110 seats, adding another 12 to the Communist Party, numbers that will encourage them to accelerate their campaign of harassment and destruction against the Prime Minister, the expert despite his ability to call elections , acknowledge a time when the number of daily coronavirus infections is declining and understand that a good chunk of voters – 47 percent, according to a recent Nikkei poll – are instead betting on economic growth, which Kishida is defending, rather than that Redistribution of wealth by the opposition.

Paradoxically, the gray image of Kishida plays in favor of the oldest electorate in Japan, the oldest country in the world, where every third inhabitant is over 65 years old (29.1 percent). The PDL cares for this part of the electorate like gold in a handkerchief and the Prime Minister perfectly represents the image of stability and continuity that these voters pursue. In a moment of disappointment, your support is key. The extraordinary machinery of appeal for the vote of the PLD (and especially the Komeito) will do the rest.

This so-called “silver democracy” contrasts with the disinterest of the younger population. In 2017, only 33 percent of 20 to 30-year-olds cast their vote, less than half of the 72 percent of voters between 60 and 70 years of age. In general, just over half of the population voted four years ago, the second lowest percentage since the end of World War II, despite being the first to see the minimum voting age lowered from 20 to 18.

It doesn’t help that young people view Japan practically as a one-party country, where the Democratic victory over the past decade is viewed as an anecdotal phenomenon. The dominance of the PLD is so absolute that young people “fear being pressured to express their political opinions openly and rarely express themselves emphatically on political issues,” said the professor at the Technological University of Japan, who specializes in politics opposite the “Japan Times”. Tokyo, Yosuke Nishida.

Young Tomohiro Niwa, a sophomore at Tokyo University and a member of iVote, an organization dedicated to promoting political debate in educational institutions, agrees. “It’s hard for students to understand that elections have real world consequences. There is a feeling that talking about politics is out of fashion and could alienate you from your classmates,” he says.

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