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Koike mums on whether to resign as party leader over election loss

TOKYO — Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike dodged a question Wednesday on whether she intends to resign as leader of a fledgling party after its bid to seize power from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party failed with a humiliating defeat in Sunday’s general election.

 

“The outcome was really severe. There are a lot of factors we have to reflect on,” Koike told reporters upon returning home from Paris where she attended a climate change conference as the governor of Tokyo.

 

The factors likely include Koike’s own “arrogance” as the governor had said that and her ill-received remarks were partly to blame for the Party of Hope’s election defeat.

 

The party is one of the two splinter groups of the moribund Democratic Party. The governor said she will determine whether to step down as party chief after consulting other party members, adding she bears “the responsibility for having created the party.”

 

The Party of Hope, which fielded 235 candidates nationwide in the 465-seat lower house election, secured only 50 seats. Not only being far from topping the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s 281 seats, Koike’s party fell below the 54 seats won by the other splinter party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, which became the largest opposition force in the lower house.

 

Led by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, the CDPJ was created by liberal members of the Democratic Party, whom Koike excluded from joining her party due to differing political stances on national security and constitutional amendments.

 

The remarks, which Koike had admitted as having “offended people,” quickly caused a dent in public support for the Party of Hope.

 

While some party members have called for disbanding the party, the governor ruled out the possibility, saying, “It is not good to disband the party as a way to take responsibility (for the election loss). We have to bear in mind that close to 10 million people voted for the Party of Hope” in the House of Representatives election.

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