Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Electoral Lists - Looking At Some Of the Numbers

- Though it does not come as a staggering surprise, it is nevertheless eyebrow-raising how much the Democratic Party of Japan has lowered its sights after its overwhelming victory in August 2009. The DPJ is running only 267 candidates (264 district, 3 proportional seat-only), 41 fewer than it managed to get elected to the House of Representatives just three years ago.

The DPJ is running head to head against the Liberal Democratic Party in 75 districts, head to head against the Japan Restoration Association in 2 districts, against the LDP and the Party of the Future in 45 districts, against the DPJ and the JRA in 81 districts and in four-way race in 54 districts.

- The LDP is preparing for a wipe out of its opponents. It is fielding candidates in 288 districts. When combined with the 9 districts where it will be supporting New Komeito candidates, the LDP is basically carpet bombing the country with candidates, with a huge reserve force of proportional seat-only candidates (49) in case the party runs the table in the districts.

- If the participation of women in public life is a big issue for you, this is yet another election to take a pass upon. Just under 15% (225 out of 1504) of the candidates are women.

The two established parties remain largely closed to women. The DPJ has women in only 14% of its candidate slots. The LDP, despite the best efforts of Koizumi Jun'ichiro to bring women into the party and the Cabinet, remains an embarrassment, with only 8% women candidates.

As usual, the Japan Communist Party is the most balanced, with one quarter of its candidates being women (80 out of 322). The Party of the Future is right behind, with 23% women candidates.

-Speaking of the Japan Communist Party, it is running candidates in 299 districts. In the last Diet, it did not win a single district seat. A few candidates may surpass the electoral deposit refund threshold, but in general the JCP is looking at a forfeit of 3 million yen x 299 = 897 million yen – a US $10.95 million transfer to the Ministry of Finance. If the party does as well as it did in 2009, it will forfeit 23 – 9 = 14 x 6 million yen = 84 million yen in deposits for the proportional seats.

If the JCP accepted public financing, the money received in subsidy could be recycled as the deposits. Instead, the party will destroy capital, sadly the capital of its supporters, to the tune of 981 million yen just to get its foot in the door, before it spends a single yen on campaigning.

- After the newspapers have been saying that the population numbers coming out of the 2010 census result in 94 of the current electoral districts having more than 1.99 times the population of Kochi District #3 (211,835 voters), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications reports that the real number of unconstitutionally under-represented districts is only 72. That is still a ridiculous 24% of all districts inhabited by voters who, by their under-representation, are worth less than half of a Kochi #3 voter.

The mystery remains Chiba District #4, the most populous district in the nation (497,601), represented by one Noda Yoshihiko. According to the MIC figures, a voter in the prime minister’s home district is only 41% of a fully enfranchised human being Kochi voter. Chiba #4 voters should be resentful of the PM’s having sold them out for the next decade in his sudden acceptance of the LDP’s egregious +0/-5 electoral district reform plan.

Is Noda in danger because his national party duties leave him unable to do retail campaigning? Hmmm… He buried Fujita Mikio in 2009 by 76,700 votes but only squeaked by in 2005, retaining his seat by a mere 944 votes. Fujita is back for a third shot at Noda and Chiba #4 is one of the 45 districts where the DPJ faces a challenge from the both the LDP and the Party of the Future.

A race to keep an eye on – for all the wrong reasons.

1 comment:

Bryce said...

In elections where there is a split between proportional lists and districts, district candidates can still count even when they have no chance of winning. Their role is essentially to make sure the party brand is visible at the local level. This, I suspect, is what the JCP is up to.