Japanese opposition joins forces amid possible early elections

Tokyo, Sep 10 (efe-epa).- The two main Japanese opposition parties completed their merger Thursday and elected a single leader, days before the replacement of Japan’s head of government and amid the possibility of early elections.

The merger links the center-left Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, founded in 2017, with 92 of the 710 legislators of the Diet (Parliament), and the center-right Democratic Party for the People, created in 2018 and with 61 seats.

As the leader of the new political entity, Yukio Edano, 56, until now the top leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (PCDJ), was elected by obtaining the support of 107 of the 149 legislators present.

Kenta Izumi, 46, leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), obtained 42 votes from the leaders represented in the political assembly in which the merger was agreed.

The political group that arises from this union of the two opposition forces will retain the name of the PCDJ. The talks to reach this merger have been going on for several months, and were completed Thursday.

This group tries to challenge the power represented by the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD), the group of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which has ruled Japan since 1954, except for the periods between 1993 and 1996 and between 2009 and 2012.

“We must confront the PLD with realism, with policies and maintaining tension,” Endo said in a short speech shortly after being elected leader of the opposition party.

The two parties decided to complete their merger on the eve of the PLD appointing its new leader, after Abe announced his resignation on Aug. 28 for health reasons. It is anticipated that he will be replaced by Yoshihide Suga.

It is expected that the PLD will designate the current head of the Cabinet and spokesman minister as the leader of that political group Monday and that Suga will be confirmed by the Diet as prime minister in an extraordinary session that will take place Wednesday.

These political movements unfold amid versions about the possibility of early elections in Japan in the coming months, before the legislative period of the lower house of the Diet expires in October 2021.

Politicians such as Suga maintain that the current priority is to recover the political management left by Abe to face the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact, before considering the need to dissolve the Diet and go to early elections.

However, the Defense Minister and former Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, anticipated on Wednesday the possibility that these elections could be called even next October, a month after Suga assumes the Japanese Government, according to forecasts.

Regarding the possibility of these early elections, the opponent Edano said that the political force that he begins to lead will be prepared for that eventuality should it occur.

“There will be general elections within a year. If they want to dissolve Parliament to escape a large-scale debate, we will wait for it,” Edano said.

So far this century the current political opposition has only ruled in Japan between 2009 and 2012. EFE-EPA


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