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Supreme Court plans unified view on vote-value suits

JIJI

The Supreme Court will present a unified view as early as this year in a series of lawsuits over vote-value disparities in the House of Representatives, sources said Thursday.

Two lawyer groups have filed 16 suits over the Lower House election last December with 14 high courts and high-court branches nationwide.

The lawyer groups insist the election should be nullified because its maximum vote-value disparity of 2.43 times is too large to be constitutional.

One court and one branch have ruled the election results for contested constituencies invalid, the first such rulings ever. In 12 suits, courts have stopped short of invalidating the vote but have ruled the election unconstitutional.

In the remaining two cases, high courts have said the vote was “in a state of unconstitutionality” that must be corrected within a reasonable period.

Those courts have said the election was carried out without any correction to wide disparities after the Supreme Court in 2011 declared that the 2009 Lower House election was in a state of unconstitutionality.

The Hiroshima High Court and its Okayama branch have criticized the Diet for its failure to address the disparity issue. They have said they had no choice but to declare the election invalid, even at risk of causing political turmoil.

The top court’s Second Petty Bench said Thursday it would refer the suits to the Grand Bench.

  • Michael Craig

    If the Supreme Court nullifies the 2012 General Election results, doesn’t that mean a new General election must be called and everyone has to vote all over again?