Sunday, September 23, 2007

Live blogging the election

14:05 -

The results from the prefectural vote have just come in. Out of 141 votes:

Fukuda 76
Aso 65

Not bad for Aso, but way less than he needs to lead an insurgent campaign.

Still he was not humiliated--something for the central party apparat to think about later.

14:10 -

Aso has just cast his vote. As is the habit, he is surrounded by close supporters. To his right is seated Shimamura Yoshinobu (no faction - the building housing his offices was the target of arson attacks recently--an event underreported in the media). To Aso's left is Hatoyama Kunio (the current Justice Minister).

Fukuda has a pair of not immediately recognizable middle-aged Diet members on his flanks.

14:26 -

Fukuda has just cast his ballot to light applause.

14:30 -

Former Prime Minister Mori Yoshirō has lumbered up on stage to deliver his vote. He's grinning, possibly reflecting (I know, I never thought I would use that word regarding Mori) on the improbable reality that his faction is on the cusp of providing the country with its fourth prime minister in a row--an impossibility under the old "wait your turn" rotation of the prime ministerships from faction head to faction head.

Either that or he is thinking he still might still be able to use his tickets to the finals of the Rugby World Cup in Paris.

14:36 -

House of Councillors member and former multiple Olympian Hashimoto Seiko is still scaring me after all these years. Why did she have to look up at the paper listing the names of the two candidates what seemed to be at least five times? (Under the rules of the election, if you mess up on the kanji or write only the last name, the vote is invalid.)

14:44 -

Nice camerawork NHK. When the two announcers started talking about the kane to seiji ("money and politics") problem, the camera zoomed in on the gleaming head of Endō Takehiko, the disgraced Ag-Minister-for-a-Week.

14:45 -

Voting by the prefectural representatives ends. Now we go to the counting.

14:50 -

The seven vote counters, two each for each of three sides of the table plus an overseer, are counting the ballots. The two women are on either side in the front, likely for photographic appearance reasons.

Aso just keeps grinning. It's getting kind of unnerving.

15:01 -

Well whoever it is who is doing the Nishimura Shingo impersonation on Fukuda's right I don't know, but it is Nagano Prefecture's Miyashita Ichirō (Machimura faction - 2 elections to the Diet) who is on his left.

15:09 -

528 votes
527 votes valid
1 vote invalid

330 votes for Fukuda
197 votes for Aso

Fukuda Yasuo is elected president of the LDP with 62% of the votes. Aso bags 132 Diet member votes - not bad.

To the Diet chambers!

15:11 -

Whoa! They are reading out a message from Abe Shinzō. What a way to throw a wet towel on the proceedings. Oh well, he was party president and all...and having no mention of him would have been weird.

15:16 -

Nice little speech by a tearing Fukuda, thanking the assembled from the bottom of his heart. He has two hopes: to end the confusion in the party and to win the people's trust through enacting policy (too close to an Abe promise for my taste, in the latter case).

In case you are wondering, it seems he wants to built "a Bright Japan" (akarui nippon). So we have left behind Beautiful, dallied awhile with Awesome (totetsu mo nai) and have settled on Bright.

15:19 -

Three banzais and we are out of here.

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