Former Democratic Party President Renho hinted Thursday that she was interested in joining the upstart Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, headed by former senior DP member Yukio Edano.
“I’d like to meet with Edano shortly to directly ask him what kind of party the CDP is,” Renho, who goes only by one name, told reporters after the DP convened a meeting of members from both Diet chambers to discuss reviving the damaged opposition party.
Renho, who supports keeping the party going, has indicated strong dissatisfaction with the leadership’s proposals for rebuilding. Among them is a proposal to scrap the DP and start a new party.
If Renho joins the CDP, it could trigger the start of a new split, political watchers said.
Renho said she has “received no answers at all” on party reforms from DP President Kohei Otsuka or the party’s other executives.
“I can’t see where the party is heading,” she said, adding that she would like to hear Edano’s opinion.
Renho said, “No,” when she was asked by reporters whether she plans to join the CDP. But she is expected to consider what to do while watching moves by the DP leadership, sources said.
Renho resigned as leader after the DP suffered a setback in the July 2 Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election.
In the Oct. 22 snap election for the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of the Diet, some DP members ran on the ticket of the conservative Kibo no To (Party of Hope), which was created in late September. Edano and other DP members then quit to establish the CDP in early October.
At Thursday’s meeting, the DP leadership presented several options for rebuilding, including starting a new party, changing the DP’s name or leaving it as is. The leadership also proposed forming a parliamentary group with the CDP and Kibo no To, keeping in mind the possibility of merging with the two rival parties in the future.
But the participating DP lawmakers failed to reach a conclusion.
Some participants supported creating a new party, with the aim of bringing back members who bolted to the CDP and Kibo no To. Others underscored the need to reach a conclusion quickly to prepare for the 2019 House of Councilors election.
Renho, however, criticized the idea of starting a new party, saying that the leadership did not explain its key policies.
Otsuka said at a news conference after the meeting that the talks to rebuild the party “still have a long way to go.”
The DP’s leadership team, which hopes to reach consensus by year-end, will convene a meeting on Saturday of senior local DP officials for further debate on how to rebuild.