The new political party formed as a refuge for the liberal wing of the disintegrating main opposition Democratic Party has unveiled a list of 62 candidates that includes former Prime Minister Naoto Kan for the upcoming Lower House election.
Kan is among the first batch of candidates for the single-seat electoral districts in the Oct. 22 election unveiled by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan on Friday.
The new party was launched this week by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.
The candidates will be running in single-seat constituencies for the 465-seat Lower House centering on major cities including Tokyo and Osaka.
Sixty-one of the candidates will also run on the party’s proportional representation list to help boost their chances of getting a slot if they lose in the single-seat districts.
“We want to play a role in toppling the administration (of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe),” Edano said at a news conference, expressing his determination to challenge the ruling coalition that groups the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.
Onetime DP leader Banri Kaieda and Hirotaka Akamatsu, a former Lower House vice speaker, are also among the candidates.
The CDP was launched after DP leader Seiji Maehara effectively disbanded his party’s Lower House caucus and urged members to run on the ticket of the fledgling Kibo no To (Party of Hope) led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.
Edano had served in key posts with the DP, the nation’s largest opposition force. Its predecessor, the Democratic Party of Japan, was in power between 2009 and 2012.
The DP split has seen more than 100 members who back amending the Constitution join Koike’s “reform-minded, conservative” party.
Edano formed a new party for liberal-minded DP members who oppose the idea of revising the pacifist Constitution, in particular the war-renouncing Article 9.
But the CDP will not field candidates in constituencies where former DP members are expected to run.
“As we are sharing a desire to topple the Abe administration, we judged it unnecessary to field contenders,” Edano said.
The party was set to announce “some more” candidates and unveil campaign pledges, possibly Saturday, according to CDP Secretary-General Tetsuro Fukuyama.
Ruling and opposition parties have been ramping up their preparations for the election, announcing candidates’ lists and platforms ahead of Tuesday’s start of official campaigning.
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