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DP to propose unified list for Upper House election

JIJI

Katsuya Okada, leader of the largest opposition Democratic Party, has sounded out two other opposition parties about creating a unified list of candidates for the proportional representation part of this summer’s Upper House election.

Okada hopes to formally propose the idea to the Social Democratic Party and Seikatsu no To (People’s Life Party) in a meeting with their leaders to be held soon, sources said Tuesday.

According to the sources, Okada phoned SDP head Tadatomo Yoshida on Monday and informed him of his idea.

On Tuesday, Okada made a phone call to Yoshida again and proposed holding a meeting among them and Seikatsu no To chief Ichiro Ozawa in the near future, the sources said.

Yoshida and Ozawa are both expected to agree to the talks.

The DP leadership team was earlier negative about the unified list idea, concerned that the situation would be too complicated if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, dissolves the Lower House and sets a snap general election for the same date as the Upper House election.

DP executives changed their mind now that Abe appears to have decided not to hold a double election, the sources said.

In addition, the DP leadership believes that the unified list will be effective in helping the opposition bloc win seats in the Upper House election amid low voter support, the sources said.

The unified list approach derives from the Olive Tree, the now-defunct center-left alliance among political parties in Italy, which ousted the country’s center-right government in a general election in 1996.