Monday, July 30, 2007

Upper House Elections

Seventeen days of campaigning for the 121 House of Councillors or Upper House seats ended on Sunday with an election defeat for the ruling coalition parties.Half of the 242 seats ie 121 were up for grabs.If Nagoya was anything to go by,it was a noisy election.Campaign vans seem to crowd the streets from 8a.m every morning.I'm just grateful that the typhoon which swept through Japan brought a temporary respite from the ear-splitting noise of vans decorated with loudspeakers booming down the streets.

The ruling coalition led by the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner,the New Komeito needed 64 of those 121 seats to maintain its majority.They fell well short with a total of 46 while the opposition led by the Democratic Party picked up 60 odd seats.Smaller opposition parties and independents won the remaining seats.
The main issues appear to have been the governments handling of the pension scheme system and various scandals and gaffes by members of the Abe cabinet.
While Abe,who became PM last September, has slipped in popularity from 70 to 30% he has refused at this stage to resign.An opposition majority in the Upper House could led to a logjam of legislation and slow down contentious changes such as revision of the Constitution or postal reform.It will be interesting to see if there is a leadership change or what effect the result will have on stocks and the Japanese economy in the next few weeks.
The photo above shows an election board with candidates.Beaming confidently from the centre is the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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