LDP, DPJ execs looking at autumn poll

Kyodo

The Democratic Party of Japan’s policy chief expressed hope Saturday that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will wait until the fall extraordinary Diet session starts before dissolving the Lower House.

“We would like to seek the public’s judgement after the Diet approves a supplementary budget for 2012 and a special bill to issue deficit-covering bonds,” Seiji Maehara told reporters in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture, in reference to Noda’s promise last week to call a snap election “soon.”

Meanwhile, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara said the same day he believes Noda is planning to dissolve the House of Representatives in October.

“I think Noda has October in mind,” Ishihara said during a television program, adding the main opposition party will continue to push for an even earlier dissolution.

“The focus of attention for the latter half of the current Diet session (through Sept. 8) is how we can force a dissolution of the Lower House in September,” he said.

On Friday, the Upper House cleared the ruling DPJ’s social security and tax reform legislation with the backing of the LDP and its main opposition ally, New Komeito, after Noda’s vague agreement to dissolve the lower chamber.

If the two opposition parties succeed in forcing an early election, the DPJ would highly likely be ejected from office based on its sliding support rate, which is largely due to Noda’s unpopular plan to hike the sales tax.

At a news conference Friday, Noda refused to be drawn on precisely what he meant by pledging to call a snap election “soon.”