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Liberal Democratic Party members of the House of Councilors agreed Tuesday to demand that the proportional representation section of the chamber’s electoral system be revised so that voters cast ballots for candidates on party lists rather than for the parties themselves, LDP officials said.

LDP Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka has said the LDP’s leadership will back the plan and the party’s partners in the ruling coalition, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party, are likely to follow suit, according to the officials.

The change is therefore likely to be incorporated into the Public Offices Election Law during the upcoming extraordinary Diet session in time for the next Upper House election, scheduled for July 2001.

Upper House elections are held every three years, with half the house’s 252 seats up for grabs. Of the 126 seats, 50 are elected through proportional representation and the other 76 from multiple-seat constituencies.

Under the current system, voters choose parties in the proportional representation ballot, and candidates are allocated seats on the basis of their positions on party lists.

Under the LDP proposal, parties would be required to allocate seats to candidates on the basis of the number of votes they garner.

The opposition parties are strongly opposed to the planned revision, saying election campaigns would become much more costly.

The way in which parties, especially the LDP, select their Upper House candidates has come under scrutiny recently in the wake of a scandal involving former Financial Reconstruction Commission chief Kimitaka Kuze.

Allegations emerged in July that Kuze obtained 100 million yen from condominium developer Daikyo Inc. in 1991 to cover party membership fees for about 33,000 people, in an effort to get his name placed higher on the LDP list of candidates.

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