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Lower House majority is minimum goal: Hosoda

by Kazuaki Nagata

The Liberal Democratic Party and its partner, New Komeito, have set their sights on securing at least a majority in the Lower House in the next general election, LDP Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda said Friday.

The ruling parties won about 70 percent of the seats in the previous Lower House election in 2005, but they’re unlikely to meet with that kind of success the next time around, Hosoda said during an interview with The Japan Times and other media organizations.

“We got trounced and lost the majority in the last Upper House election, so we have to be humble,” he said, adding that no one thinks it’s possible to hold onto two-thirds of the seats in the next election, which is expected to take place soon.

“The minimum goal is that the ruling coalition wins a majority to keep control of the government,” Hosoda said. “The opposition parties have repeatedly said (the Upper House) reflects the public’s will. So if we have a general election (and win most of the Lower House seats), we can proudly say this majorityreflects the public’s will.”

The election has not been scheduled yet, and Prime Minister Taro Aso will decide when to dissolve the lower chamber based on how the supplementary budget fares during the extraordinary Diet session that starts next week.

Hosoda is concerned the opposition parties may take an obstructionist approach.

“The Diet affairs chiefs (of the ruling parties) had bitter experiences last year,” Hosoda said. “It would be best if we could all agree and work together on the supplementary budget to respond to the current economic situation,” he said.