Lawyers ask court to block election

JIJI

A group of lawyers has filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court seeking an injunction against the Lower House election, arguing that holding it under current vote-value disparities is unconstitutional.

In the suit submitted Friday, the plaintiffs pointed out that the Supreme Court in March 2011 ruled that disparities in the weight of a vote among different constituencies in the 2009 general election was “in a state of unconstitutionality.”

The top court called on the Diet to rectify these imbalances by abolishing the minimum single-seat allocation system, under which one Lower House seat is allocated to each prefecture regardless of the size of its population.

While seeking a preliminary injunction, the lawyers are also demanding that the court suspend the Dec. 16 election and order the government to introduce a bill to eliminate the current seat allocation system.

A separate group of lawyers is preparing to file 60 lawsuits with high courts on the day after the ballots are counted in a bid to have the outcome ruled invalid.

1,121 candidates to run

A total of 1,121 candidates were preparing to run in the Dec. 16 election for the 480-seat House of Representatives as of Friday, according to a Jiji Press survey.

Of the total, 1,016 will stand in single-seat constituencies and the other 105 in the proportional representation segment.

Political parties are accelerating efforts to select more candidates for the general election, following the all-important Lower House’s dissolution Friday. Official campaigning is set to start Dec. 4.

The Democratic Party of Japan, which won an overwhelming 308 seats in the lower chamber in the August 2009 poll, currently plans to field only 247 candidates — 228 in single-seat constituencies and 19 under the proportional representation system — because more than 50 of its members have defected in protest at the policies of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who also heads the party.

The Liberal Democratic Party will likely field 280 candidates in single-seat constituencies and four in proportional representation blocks. The main opposition party suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2009 election that brought its more than 50 years of almost uninterrupted governance to an end.

The LDP’s close opposition ally, New Komeito, plans to put up nine candidates in single-seat constituencies and 26 for the proportional representation segment.