On Thursday the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, dissolved the lower chamber and announced new elections, which will be held on Oct. 22. Abe has left no room for the parliamentary debate that the opposition had asked for, to investigate on the scandals about him and in which he illicitly pressured the bureaucratic apparatus to foster his political supporters.
The accusations took form thanks to the revelations of a senior official and led the government to a serious consensus crisis and a tough defeat at the local elections in Tokyo in July. Abe’s silence on scandals is deafening, but in the hemicycle the “banzai” cry broke out in the grand tradition of dissolving the House of Representatives.
The oppositions, on the other hand, did not attend, in protest. Seiji Maehara came to a press conference after the Democratic Party leadership meeting, the main opposition party, and spoke of the choice that will change the Japanese political geography: the Democratic Party will come to the polls under the insignia of the new “Party of Hope,” recently founded by Tokyo Mayor Yuriko Koike.
It thus officially terminates the alliance with the Communist Party, the other leftist force in the Japanese parliament, which has increased its seats in the last elections. On Sept. 25, Koike announced the foundation of the new party, which is far from the left, according to many critics, indeed it would be difficult to distinguish it from the Liberal Democratic Party, of which she was part until a few months ago.
Koike’s key word, also used by Maehara, is “Aufheben” — a desired reference to Hegel — that is, to overcome what he does not like about the other parties, but to keep what he likes — and, according to an observer of the Koike issue, this would also include the alliance with Abe’s party after the elections.
A perfect revenge against Abe, who won the election for President of the PDP against her. Maehara said she would do “anything to beat Abe” and the goal is a “one against one” fight in the uninominal electoral constituencies against the PDP candidates.
The political future of Japan seems uncertain. Abe brought LdP very low in the polls, but in the countryside it still remains solidly organized around local dignitaries who will be hard to beat and it is not enough winning only in cities; instead some regional differences are determined in surveys, with Osaka skeptical about Koike.
It has already happened in the past that after major scandals — the most famous was the Recruit in 1989 — voters punished the government party Ldp. Koike and Maheara believe in the “Aufhebung,” while the Communist Party remains alone on the left.
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