The ruling coalition parties are poised to ignore objections from the opposition bloc and vote in the Diet as early as today on a contentious bill to revise the electoral system, coalition sources said Thursday.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party may vote in a House of Councilors committee without the presence of the opposition, which has been boycotting virtually all Diet sessions in protest at the bill, they said.

If the vote is carried out, the bill would pass the Upper House committee because the ruling coalition has a majority.

But some in the ruling bloc are against the idea of holding the vote on Friday, saying there could be disadvantages for the ruling camp if it pushes ahead with the vote, the coalition sources said.

They say the vote should be held off until next week, the sources said.

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party plan to lodge a protest if the vote is held, opposition officials said.

At issue is a bill that would revise the proportional representation system for elections to the Upper House so that ballots can be cast either for candidates on party lists or for the parties themselves. The current system allows ballots to be cast only for parties.

The proposed system would allocate seats to parties based on the number of votes they or their candidates receive. The parties would then assign seats to candidates in accordance with their performances.

While the opposition says the changes will make campaigning in elections more costly, the ruling bloc wants to implement the new system in time for the next Upper House election in the summer.

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