Lower House seat distribution, votes out of sync

JIJI

Sunday’s Lower House poll left a huge gap between the percentages of seats won in single-seat districts and the percentages of votes won, sparking calls for a review to the current electoral system.

The Liberal Democratic Party won 237 seats, or 79.0 percent, of the 300 seats that were contested in the single-seat districts, while garnering just 43.0 percent of votes in all constituencies.

The Democratic Party of Japan gained 22.8 percent of the votes in the districts but won only 27 seats, or 9.0 percent.

For the remaining 180 seats allocated in the proportional representation segment, the percentages of seats won were roughly in line with those of votes garnered.

The LDP secured 31.7 percent of the seats for the 27.6 percent of proportional representation votes it received, while the DPJ obtained 16.7 percent of the seats for its 16.0 percent share of votes.

In addition, the percentage of wasted votes in the single-seat districts soared.

Some 37.3 million votes cast in the single-seat constituencies were not for candidates who were elected, accounting for 56.0 percent of the votes cast for all candidates.

The percentage jumped by 9.7 percentage points from the previous election in 2009, reflecting the participation of many new parties, including Nippon Ishin No Kai (Japan Restoration Party), causing a wider spread of votes.

The current Lower House election system causes volatile swings in election results and leaves many votes wasted, political analyst Atsuo Ito said.

“It is time to review the system, as some 20 years have passed since its introduction,” he said.

Even LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba said the system should be reviewed.

“We need to hold discussions on whether the current election system is all right as it is,” he said, pointing to wild swings in the results of the three most recent Lower House elections.