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LDP eyes seats for smaller parties

Kyodo

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership proposed Thursday to preferentially allocate 60 of the 150 proportional representatioin seats in the Lower House to smaller political parties, LDP lawmakers said.

The proposal is part of the LDP’s plan to cut the number of seats in the House of Representatives by 30 to 150 in proportional representation constituencies. Of this total, 60 seats would then be given to the parties that won the second-largest share of votes or less.

Under the current system, 300 of the Lower House’s 480 seats are allotted to single-seat constituencies and 180 to 11 blocks for proportional representation. LDP executives also proposed consolidating the blocks into eight, the lawmakers said.

The party initially considered subjecting 30 seats to the preferential allocation system for smaller parties but eventually doubled the number in consideration of a request from its coalition partner, New Komeito.

The LDP’s move follows a trilateral accord last November between the LDP, New Komeito and the then-ruling Democratic Party of Japan to reach a decision on electoral system reforms, including reducing the number of seats in the lower chamber, by the end of the ordinary Diet session this year.

The fate of the LDP plan remains uncertain as lawmakers of the DPJ, now the largest opposition party, are calling for 75 seats to be cut.

LDP Acting Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda, who compiled the plan, told reporters after an interparty meeting on electoral system reforms that the party will “not force” the plan’s passage in the Diet but rather seek the approval of as many parties as possible.