New Komeito’s secretary general said Wednesday his party would entertain forming a coalition government with the Democratic Party of Japan if, in a snap election, the DPJ took a majority in the House of Representatives.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has threatened to dissolve the Lower House and call a general election if the House of Councilors rejects the contentious postal privatization bills. Koizumi heads the Liberal Democratic Party, whose junior coalition partner is New Komeito.
We “don’t want to team up with the DPJ, but if that’s the only choice left for the good of the nation and the people, (we) shouldn’t hesitate” to form a coalition with the opposition to maintain political stability, Tetsuzo Fuyushiba said during a speech at the Japan National Press Club.
“Democracy is (all about the) numbers (of Diet members) really. We cannot carry out a policy without holding a majority,” he said.
New Komeito head Takenori Kanzaki implied Fuyushiba’s comments were his personal views, telling a news conference later in the day the party “has never discussed” any scenarios for after a general election.
Fuyushiba’s remarks still will probably put more pressure on the LDP to contain opponents to the postal bills inside the ruling party and get the bill through the Diet by the Aug. 13 end of the session.
The bills to privatize Japan Post cleared the Lower House in June by a margin of five votes. Fifty-one LDP members either voted against the bills or abstained.
The bills would be killed if a minimum of 18 of the LDP’s Upper House members join the opposition force in rejecting them.
In the 480-seat Lower House, the LDP, with 250 seats, and New Komeito, with 34, hold a comfortable majority.
Fuyushiba warned that if Koizumi decides to call a snap election, New Komeito “cannot stop him and (the LDP) would be in trouble,” because of the large number of LDP members opposed to the postal bills.
Fuyushiba said the ruling coalition aims to put the bills to a vote in the Upper House special committee on Aug. 4 and seek a plenary session vote the following day.
He said the bills should not be amended any more or carried over to the extraordinary session expected in the fall.
Those moves would only invigorate the opposition and the bills’ LDP opponents, and jeopardize postal privatization, he said.
If the bills fail and the prime minister decides to dissolve the Lower House for a general election, Fuyushiba said transport minister Kazuo Kitagawa, the only Cabinet minister from New Komeito, should abide by the decision and not resign his post.
Information from Kyodo added
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