Abe dissolves Japan Parliament ahead of snap elections quoted by Emily Tamkin in Foreign Policy, 28 September 2017
On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved Japan’s parliament, the starting pistol for the snap elections he called a year early to get over a “national crisis.”
Coincidentally, Abe concluded he needed a fresh electoral mandate just as his approval rating bounced back after an abysmal summer of scandals — and as the opposition seemed scattered.
“Seemed” being the operative word. Also this week, Yuriko Koike, the popular governor of Tokyo, created a new “Party of Hope” to challenge the duopoly that has dominated Japanese politics. The new group, which includes some defectors from both Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and the opposition Democratic Party, was formed, Koike said, “because there’s a need for a force for reform with no political shackles, in the truest sense.”
Koike’s move could be a potential game-changer, said Céline Pajon of the French Institute of International Relations. “Before that, the opposition was in disarray and could not harm Abe, even if mounting voices are disapproving of his governing style,” she said. But elections are slated for Oct. 22, leaving the Party of Hope just a few weeks to get organized and built a slate of candidates. It also might need a real platform, Pajon says: “It will also have to convince voters that it has a real political project, beyond the anti-Abe stance.”
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