Monday, July 02, 2012

The Answer Is Fifty-Two

Jiji Press is reporting that Ozawa Ichiro has delivered his sheaf of party resignations to Democratic Party of Japan headquarters. (J)

The final count of 40 members of the House of Representatives and 12 members of the House of Councillors is remarkably close to advance predictions, which had about 40 Representatives and 10 Senators resigning.

It is worthwhile noting that:

- the number of those resigning is way short (54 was the magic number) of the number of House of Representatives members Ozawa had to take with him for the DPJ membership in that House to fall beneath 50%.

- the eventual number of defectors is going to be greater than the number resigning today. Yamada Masahiko has made his resignation contingent on the passage of the consumption tax legislation through the House of Councillors. Guess what, the consumption legislation will pass through the House of Councillors.

- with the likely formation of a caucus with the nine earlier DPJ escapees who formed Kizuna, the four three representatives of Shinto Daichi, the 40 House of Representatives members of the new, as yet unformed and unnamed Ozawa party, the combined voting strength will be 53 representatives, two one over the limit of 51 representatives needed to submit at a no-confidence motion against the government.

- for any non-conficence motion to succeed, the new caucus would have to not only have every single one of the opposition voting with them but also 14 members of the DPJ turning on the Cabinet. Any takers for a bet on how likely that is going to be?

- it is now open season on Ozawa, like it has never been before. He has lost the majority party protecting him. No existing party is even considering an alliance with those defecting with him today and their fellow travelers in Kizuna and Shinto Daichi.

- with the losses in the House of Councillors, the number of DPJ members in that House falls to 95. This forecloses an alliance in between the DPJ and the New Komeito, as the combined strength of the two parties together is 95 + 19 = 114, eight votes short of the >50% line. The DPJ must now cut a deal with the Liberal Democratic Party on every bill it wants to become law.

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