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December poll unconstitutional but results stand: Tokyo High Court

Kyodo

Another court ruled Thursday that December’s general election was unconstitutional due to a significant disparity in the weight of votes, but refused to nullify the results in the district of contention.

The Tokyo High Court made the ruling in a lawsuit filed by a 36-year-old resident of Niigata Prefecture but rejected the plaintiff’s demand to nullify the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election result for the Niigata No. 1 constituency.

The suit was separate from 16 others filed by two groups of lawyers that have recently been ruled upon regarding vote weight disparities of up to 2.43 times in the election, in which the Liberal Democratic Party returned to power and its president, Shinzo Abe, became prime minister.

After the day’s ruling, the Niigata prefectural election board said it intends to deal with the matter after thoroughly examining the ruling and consulting with the government.

In March 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that the vote weight disparity of up to 2.3 times in the 2009 general election was in a state of unconstitutionality.

The plaintiff in Niigata Prefecture argued that the December election result was in violation of the Constitution as the vote weight disparity had been left uncorrected since the Supreme Court ruling.

Of the 16 cases filed by the two lawyer groups, courts ruled in 12 cases that the December election results were unconstitutional but valid, while two other rulings said the results were in a state of unconstitutionality. In the remaining two cases, the election results were deemed unconstitutional and invalidated on the districts of contention.