Monday, September 22, 2008

LDP Election Results in; Aso Near-Sweep of Local Chapters. Not So Cozy with Diet Members

Taro Aso: (local chapter votes 134, Diet member votes 217, total 351)
Kaoru Yosano (2, 64, 66)
Yuriko Koike (0, 40, 40)
Nobuteru Ishihara (1, 36, 37)
Shigeru Ishiba (4, 21, 25)
Total (141, 378, 519)
519 out of 527 eligible votes were cast, of which Mr. Aso won 351. That’s 67.6% of the votes actually cast. He owes this overwhelming majority to the local votes, where he cleaned up 134 out of 141, or 95% of the total. True, a large number of chapters held winner-take-all elections and the proportional chapters also heavily favored the across-the-board frontrunner. Still, the near-sweep was pretty impressive. Among the other four, only Mr. Ishiba apparently managed to carry his own, admittedly small, prefectural chapter. None of the Diet members who voted for any of the four appears to have been able to convince the local chapter to throw its votes to his/her candidate of choice—if he/she tried at all.

Mr. Aso did less well among the Diet members, where 578 out of 386 LDP Diet members cast their vote. He won 217, or 57.4% of the votes, a solid, but not overwhelming, majority. Personal or factional loyalties and policy choices appear to count at this level. This may not carry over to the local level, where national exposure and media coverage has a great effect.

I can easily envisage a situation where an attractive candidate wins a majority against a number of other candidates among the local chapters but only a plurality in the overall vote. Can the other candidates gang up against the public favorite and beat that person in a run-off? Unlikely, I think. We may have a chance to find out, sooner rather than later, if Mr. Aso leads the LDP to defeat in the Lower House election.

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