Cuts in proportional representation seats would enable DPJ to occupy 68% of Lower House with only 42% of votes

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on July 2 criticized the government push to cut the number of proportional representation seats in the Lower House as a thinly disguised attempt to clear the way to establish in essence a one-party regime.

Prime Minister Kan Naoto on a TV program aired on the previous day said that he wants to enact a bill to cut the number of House of Representatives proportional representation seats by 80 from the present 180 during the extraordinary Diet session to be convened after the House of Councilors election. The total number of Lower House seats at present is 480, consisting of 300 from single-seat blocs and 180 from proportional representation blocs.

A calculation based on the last general election results shows that the DPJ would have been able to occupy 68 percent of the Lower House seats on its own while receiving only 42 percent of the votes.

Shii stated that if the DPJ accounts for more than two-thirds of Lower House seats, it would be able to enact whatever bills it wants, and even if a bill is rejected in the Upper House, the DPJ can call for a revote in the Lower House to override it.

Prime Minister Kan is intending to enact a bill on an increase in the consumption tax in 2011 and seek ex-post facto approval from voters in the next general election (2013). By then, he hopes to have the number of proportional representation seats reduced in order to eliminate Dietmembers who may oppose a consumption tax hike from the Diet.

- Akahata, July 3, 2010

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