Tuesday, February 17, 2009

At Seventeen

Would somebody please tell me why I labor under the delusion that I understand anything about seikyoku ("political maneuvering")?

On Saturday, I chortled at the paltry number of members of the Diet attending the "Gathering to Promote Adherence to the Privatization of the Post Office"-- the meeting where former prime minister Koizumi Jun'ichirō was all over Prime Minister Asō Tarō like hair on a gorilla.

Chortled I:

"...very few folks at all showed up - just 18 members of the Diet were at the meeting, a testament to the collapse within the LDP of confidence in the Koizumi economic and structural reforms."
Amaterasu am I stupid.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The tiny number of Koizumi Kids, the first-termers elected in the 2005 election, should have tipped me off.

MTC, how many members of the Diet attending the meeting were from the House of Representatives?

Uh, seventeen. Yamamoto Ichita was the sole attendee from the House of Councillors.

And how many members does the House of Representatives have in it?

Normally 480 members. But there is an open seat right now, so there are only 479.

And what is 2/3 of 479, roughly?


OK. Let's be generous and round down to 319. Now what is the number of members of the House of Representatives who are members of the ruling coalition?

There are 334 members in the ruling coalition. 303 members of the Liberal Democratic Party. 31 members of the New Komeito.

So therefore?

If all the 17 members attending the meeting on Sunday voted with the opposition, then there would not be enough votes--assuming no defections from the opposition and no support from the 9 independents in the House--to pass the second supplementary budget bill using the Article 59 override...because 334 minus 17 is 317, which is less than the 319 "Yes" votes necessary to override a supplementary budget bill should it be rejected or ignored by the House of Councillors. And that goes for not just the second supplementary budget bill but any bill, should the 17 members vote with the opposition.

Only 17 members attended because only 17 needed to attend. Everyone else, particularly the vulnerable first-termers, could stand comfortably away from the action on the sidelines. They might support the Lionheart's attack on the Prime Minister and believe in the Koizumi way...but they were superfluous to the main point of the exercise: showing that Koizumi and his lieutenants have the votes necessary to kill any piece of legislation.

Later - I see over at Global Talk 21 that Okumura Jun has come to the same conclusion. He believes that the government will be able to manipulate the final results via abstentions--but I do not believe the members, facing an election, can skip out on a vital vote in order to manipulate the quorum number. The constituents of any member, even established ones, would revolt. The newspaper editorialists would go absolutely nuts, too.


All apologies to Janis Ian for the title of this post.

1 comment:

wataru said...

An interesting observation, but do Koizumi and followers have (1) the guts to follow through and (2) anything really to gain by it, other than the thrill of throwing a bomb into a crowded room?