Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, the leader of the Party of Hope, clearly stated in an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun that she will not run in the House of Representatives election. Certain party members are disappointed, pointing out that “this will dampen the party’s momentum,” according to a member who bolted the Democratic Party (DP). The Party of Hope had planned to vote for Koike as prime minister if she ran in the election and won, but this will be unlikely now. The party may have to rethink its strategy.
It is believed that behind Koike’s decision not to run is the fact that her resignation as governor after just over a year on the job would not be widely condoned by the public, plus she is no longer confident of victory since the opposition parties are in disarray.
Party of Hope members had thought, “If Koike runs, she will create a sensation nationwide, even making a change of government possible.” Koike had not ruled out the possibility categorically, keeping such hopes alive.
However, the Party of Hope’s exclusion of liberal-minded politicians in the process of merging with the DP, using constitutional revision and security policy as a “litmus test,” has been criticized as being “high-handed,” resulting in a situation in which opposition parties are competing against each other.
Although Koike reiterated to reporters on Oct. 2 that her party will field more than 233 candidates (233 seats constitute a majority in the Lower House), it appears that the party is actually having difficulty fielding its candidates. (Abridged)