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Lower House member Seiko Noda, one of the “postal rebels” who returned to the Liberal Democratic Party after winning in the 2005 general election as independents, will run for Gifu’s No. 1 district in the next election, senior LDP executive Makoto Koga said Saturday.

“We should go with Noda,” Koga said of the closely watched adjustments being made in its strategy for Gifu. Koga chairs the ruling party’s Election Committee.

The statement indicates LDP member Yukari Sato, who lost to Noda in the 2005 race, will be forced to run from a different electoral district.

Gifu No. 1 is one of the six electoral districts where two LDP incumbents will have to compete to become the party’s official candidate for that district. The unusual conflict developed after the postal rebels who succeeded as independents were readmitted to the LDP, giving the party two viable candidates for certain districts instead of one.

Decisions are still pending on the other five constituencies.

In the 2005 election, Noda, a former postal minister, quit the LDP after voting against then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s postal privatization plan.

Despite the move, Noda was re-elected from the Gifu No. 1 district as an independent. In 2006, Koizumi’s successor, Shinzo Abe, allowed Noda and many of the other postal rebels to return to the LDP fold.

Sato, who was sent as the LDP’s “assassin” candidate to beat Noda, failed to win but captured a Lower House seat anyway because she was also listed as the LDP’s candidate for the Tokai regional proportional representation bloc.

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