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Abe should heed diverse public opinion despite big election win

13 6 8

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner, Komeito, retained its crushing majority in the Lower House in the Oct. 22 election as voters chose to keep Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in power.

Abe has won the “power game” he initiated by dissolving the Lower House for a snap poll without a good reason in an obvious political ploy to escape attacks over the scandals involving two school operators with connections to him--Moritomo Gakuen and the Kake Educational Institution.

But there are evidently diverse views and opinions among the voting public, which has given Abe a fresh mandate to govern the nation. We see some wide gaps between the election outcomes and the findings of opinion polls conducted during the campaign period.


In the latest Asahi Shimbun survey, 34 percent of the respondents said they wanted to see Abe continue serving as prime minister, while 51 percent didn’t want to.

In the same survey, 73 percent of the polled said it was “not good” that the LDP had overwhelming strength in the Diet, against 15 percent who said it was “good.”

Also, 37 percent of the pollees expressed their desire to see the government continue to be led by the LDP, while 36 percent said they wished to see a party other than the LDP come to power.

These findings portrayed a voting public preferring a better balance of power between the ruling and opposition camps to the LDP’s political dominance, which appears to have made the ruling party arrogant and undisciplined.

Then, why has the LDP won a landslide majority in the Lower House again?

One factor behind the LDP’s huge victory is the system of single-seat constituencies, which tends to drown out minority voices. But that is not the only, or even the biggest, reason.

The principal factor is probably the manner the two key opposition leaders responded to the power game initiated by the prime minister. Seiji Maehara, head of the Democratic Party, and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who leads the new Kibo no To (Hope), adopted their own political expedient, which was also a form of power game, in response to Abe’s maneuvering.

Many members of the troubled........

© The Asahi Shimbun