Liberal Democratic Party rebels who voted against the government’s postal privatization bills in the House of Representatives are still considering forming a new party ahead of the Sept. 11 election, a key dissenter said Friday.
“You will face various limits in campaigns if you run in an election as an independent,” LDP heavyweight Shizuka Kamei said in Tokyo. “I am having serious discussions with my partisans on whether it would be better to form a new party to gain voter understanding.”
The rebels are also deliberating whether voters will accept the new party if it is being formed only because they can’t run on the LDP ticket, he said.
It was rumored that the idea of forming a new party already had been given up, but Kamei said a conclusion would be reached soon.
Kamei, a veteran politician who has held various Cabinet portfolios, is one of the 37 members who voted against the bills, the centerpiece of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s reform policy, in the Lower House in early July.
The bills were voted down Monday by the House of Councilors, prompting Koizumi to dissolve the lower chamber.
The LDP has decided not to put the 37 on its ticket for the election and to field alternative candidates in each of their constituencies, banning its local chapters from campaigning for the dissenters.
Tamisuke Watanuki, another key figure among the 37, said “nothing yet” has developed about forming a new party.
Kazuko Nose told a meeting of LDP members in Hiroshima that she will not run for re-election. She is the first of the 37 who has given up on seeking another term.
Nose, who won in the proportional representation section, told reporters she will not run even if a new party is formed.
The LDP’s Hiroshima Prefecture chapter asked LDP headquarters Friday to put Kamei on the party’s ticket, defying a directive from headquarters. Kamei is from the Hiroshima No. 6 single-seat constituency.
The Gifu Prefecture chapter revised its regulations Friday so it could support Seiko Noda, a former posts and telecommunications minister, and two others who voted against the bills in the Lower House.
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