With only a few months remaining until the next Lower House election must be called, the Liberal Democratic Party has postponed a plan to restrict so-called hereditary candidates until after the campaign, party sources said Tuesday.
The postponement comes amid speculation that Prime Minister Taro Aso may dissolve the Lower House in late June or early July and call a snap election in early or late August. The current term of Lower House members expires in September.
The LDP apparently failed to forge a consensus among its members, many of whom are from well-established political families. Such a rule would prevent their kin from inheriting not only their electoral districts but also their support groups and fundraising machines.
Because of their easy wins in elections, such hereditary politicians are often criticized for an inability to grasp voter sentiment or develop policies that connect with the public.
The LDP has judged that excluding hereditary candidates, some of whom have already obtained informal endorsements as the party’s official candidates in the upcoming election, “would harm the LDP’s trustworthiness,” the sources said.
Last month, an LDP task force on internal party reform drafted a proposal that would have banned endorsing hereditary candidates in future elections. But Yoshihide Suga, a key member of the reform drive, recently changed his stance and the plan was watered down, the sources said.
With the postponement, Shinjiro Koizumi, the second son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, is expected to run as an LDP candidate in his father’s district in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Shoichi Usui, the eldest son of former Justice Minister Hideo Usui, will also run as an LDP candidate and hope to inherit his father’s district in Chiba Prefecture.
The postponement means the LDP is lagging behind the Democratic Party of Japan to present a clean public image in the runup to the campaign.
The DPJ decided in April not to endorse hereditary politicians in the next election and is likely to bring up the issue to differentiate itself from the LDP.
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