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80 LDP lawmakers unaffiliated with any faction, constituting LDP’s second-largest group

  • May 4, 2018
  • , Nikkei , p. 2
  • JMH Translation

About 80 of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Diet members currently do not belong to any intraparty faction, accounting for slightly less than 20% in the LDP. They constitute the “second-largest faction” after the one led by Hiroyuki Hosoda. Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda is also one of those unaffiliated.

 

Elections for the House of Representatives used to be held under the multiple-seat constituency system. Under this system, multiple candidates were elected in each of the nation’s electoral districts. In those days, LDP Diet members unaffiliated with any faction once accounted for less than 10%. That’s because when three to five LDP candidates run in one and the same electoral district, they could not have defeated other LDP candidates and the opposition parties without support from factions. Also, some Diet members chose not to belong to any faction because there was already a Diet member from the same constituency in a faction they wanted to join. At the time, many of the LDP Diet members in the House of Councillors were unaffiliated in the party. In the upper chamber as well, Kakuei Tanaka pushed ahead with affiliating them. As a result, intraparty groups rapidly expanded.

 

What changed the situation was the introduction of the single-seat constituency system, under which only one candidate can be elected in each of the single-seat electoral districts. In 2005, when a large number of first-time candidates were elected as a result of the snap election over then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s advocacy of postal privatization, LDP Diet members unaffiliated with any faction accounted for more than 20%. The percentage rose further in 2009, when the LDP fell into opposition, and went up to a little under 40% in 2013.

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his administration have been in office for a long time. Nowadays, recommendations from factions play a certain role for LDP Diet members to get a post in the party and the government. More and more LDP Diet members are joining factions.

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