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Gov’t, LDP to closely watch DP’s upcoming presidential election

  • July 28, 2017
  • , Yomiuri , p. 4
  • JMH Translation
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The government and the ruling parties are closely watching the Democratic Party’s presidential election after its leader Renho announced her resignation. With the DP in hot pursuit of the Abe cabinet on the Kake Gakuen’s plan to open a new veterinary school, certain ruling party members think the grilling will become “less intensive,” since the DP will be forced to focus on its presidential race. An aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also reckons that “to some degree” the DP’s election and future course post-election will affect Abe’s strategy for dissolving the House of Representatives for a general election.


With the cabinet support ratings sinking to the lowest level since the start of the second Abe administration, the government would have wanted to concentrate on the management of the administration. However, the DP and other opposition parties are demanding the early convening of an extraordinary Diet session, claiming that suspicions over the Kake Gakuen affair “deepened” with the interpellations at the off-session Budget Committee meetings in both houses of the Diet on July 24 and 25.


With Renho’s sudden resignation, the DP will have to deal with the serious situation in the party first. A senior Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) official says: “This is our chance to come up with policies after the cabinet reshuffle (on Aug. 3).”


Change of the DP leader may also affect Abe’s decision on the dissolution of the Lower House. There was once an opinion in the LDP that during a period of sagging support for the Renho-led DP, a general election should be held while Renho was still the “face” of the party.


However, a new DP leadership may give rise to expectations for a while. A veteran LDP lawmaker points out:  “We need to wait and see for some time. The timing for Diet dissolution has become unpredictable.”


But others voice the opinion that rather than revising his strategy for Diet dissolution, Abe should be giving priority to restoring support, since the people’s distrust of him is undeniably a reason for the sagging cabinet support ratings. (Abridged)

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