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Vote weight suits readied to nullify Upper House result

Kyodo

A group of lawyers disputing the vote-weight disparity in national elections has enlisted plaintiffs in all 47 prefectural electoral districts for lawsuits to invalidate the results of the upcoming Upper House election.

Lawyer Hidetoshi Masunaga sounded optimistic about achieving the group’s goal at a news conference Tuesday in Tokyo. “If we file suits for all electoral districts, judges will feel compelled to issue rulings to call (the results) unconstitutional and invalid,” Masunaga said.

The group has for years been fighting the state over the issue in court and has won rulings that called elections unconstitutional or invalid in lower courts.

The group said this is the first time they will challenge the results of all electoral districts in a national election.

The suits will be lodged July 22, the day after the Upper House election, with the country’s 14 high courts — the court of first instance for deliberating lawsuits on the validity of a national election under the Public Offices Election Law.

Last November, lawmakers enacted amendments to the election law to tweak the numbers of Diet seats among districts to reduce disparity in the numbers of voters per lawmaker from the worst ratio of 5 in the 2010 Upper House election.