Monday, July 12, 2010

House of Councillors Election 2010 - Early Morning Notes

1) Turnout - The earlier stories about abysmally low turnout seem to have been mistaken. Other reports are coming in of turnout of slightly over 57%-- which would mean just over 59 million votes.

So turnout seemingly was not a cause of the wipeout.

2) Koizumism is Back - Not only was Koizumi Shinjiro's fervent campaigning cited by every commercial television network as having bolstered the spirits, if not exactly the results of several of the LDP's candidates, his father's female "assassins" managed to fight their way back into the Diet. Katayama Satsuki and Sato Yukari both won seats off the LDP proportional list, while Inokuchi Kuniko captured one of the three Chiba district seats.

The DPJ's strategy of running against the legacy of the most popular Prime Minister of recent times will probably have to be rethought.

3) Not Stupid - Former DPJ party leader Ozawa Ichiro was severely critized by members of his own party for assigning a second DPJ candidate to two seat districts where the traditional split was one seat going to the LDP and one to the DPJ. His was a gutsy attempt to capitalize on the vote burning of 2007, when running a single DPJ candidates in two seat districts left hundreds of thousands of votes lying on the table as the DPJ candidates overwhelmed their LDP opponents.

Running two DPJ candidates in two-seat districts did not pay off: nowhere did the DPJ win both seats being contested. However, neither did it seem to have hurt the DPJ eithet; it has seemingly won at least one of the two seats in all of the 12 two-seat districts.

The only place where the DPJ was running two candidates only to suffer an unexpected loss was in Kanagawa Prefecture, where the lackluster Minister of Justic Chiba Keiko has lost her seat, finishing fourth behind the LDP, Your Party and other DPJ candidate. Given Chiba's almost invisible performance as minister of justice since her inauguration, she will not be much missed.

Her seat sure as heck will be, though.

4) Ren Ho, Superstar - Notwithstanding complaints from dinosaurs like Hiranuma Takeo -- whose Sunrise Party will win not a single seat -- that she is not "originally Japanese" Ren Ho (or Renho) is undoubtably the face of the DPJ. She demolished her opponents in the Tokyo district race, finishing over 500,000 900,000 votes ahead of her nearest rival in the most lopsided contest ever. She has been on all the network broadcasts this night, keeping a stiff upper lip and defending the Prime Minister in the face of clearly less-than-stellar returns.

Oh, if they had only listened to me in September...

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