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Big DPJ win may kick-start parliament
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-28 08:12

Big DPJ win may kick-start parliament

TOKYO: Japan's opposition Democratic Party may win two-thirds of the seats in parliament's lower house in Sunday's election, a newspaper said Thursday, a landslide win that would make it easier to push through laws.

Besides ending more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), such a win would break a policy deadlock caused by a divided parliament, where the opposition controls the upper house and can delay bills.

Big DPJ win may kick-start parliament
These masked men could afford to stop and shake hands, but the real Taro Aso and Yujio Hatoyama were still battling at competing rallies Thursday. [Agencies]

Yukio Hatoyama's Democrats have promised to focus spending on households, cut waste and wrest control of policy from the hands of bureaucrats. But their pledge to keep the sales tax at its current 5 percent for the next four years has raised concerns about further inflating Japan's already huge public debt.

Previous surveys have shown the Democrats are on track for a runaway win over Prime Minister Taro Aso's LDP, which has ruled the country for all but 10 months since its founding 1955, but the Asahi newspaper said that an even bigger victory was within sight.

A huge win would mean the Democrats would have to pay less attention to their small allies on the left and the right, making policy formation easier.

A two-thirds majority in the lower house would also allow the Democrats to enact bills rejected by the upper house.

With their allies, they currently control the upper house but face an election for that chamber next year.

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"It looks like they are going to get it," said Columbia University professor Gerry Curtis, when asked about a Democratic Party two-thirds majority.

"It means that the little opposition parties won't have any influence at all, which I think is a good thing."

Analysts have cautioned that voter anger at the LDP is more due to scandals, policy flip-flops and a perceived inability to solve the deep problems of Japan's fast-ageing society rather than enthusiasm for the decade-old Democrats.

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