Briefly; the rumbling and grumbling in the LDP only seems to grow as media poll after media poll recorded an breathtaking drop in support for the beleaguered Prime Minister, his Cabinet, and, to a lesser degree his party. Future prospects do not look too good for them either, Aso appears to have botched, possibly irreparably, the launch of his second-tranche stimulus package and the global economic woes will surely extend beyond the next year. Short of successfully repelling a major terrorist attack with his skeet rifle, there does not seem to be anything on the horizon that Aso can seize on to improve electoral fortunes before the expiration date arrives next September for the current batch of Lower House members.
All is not lost for the Ins, however. Even as the LDP appears to be slip-sliding away, the DPJ have not exactly been tearing ahead either. The fact of the matter is that somewhere in the neighborhood of 2/3rds of the responders to public opinion polls still do not support the DPJ, and skepticism about Ichiro Ozawa’s character and his ability and willingness to serve if elected remains strong. On the other hand, the likelihood is increasing that the DPJ doesn’t have to win a majority; that it only has to beat the LDP and look to batches of defector to emerge in the aftermath of the election to enable it to create a working majority. Defections in the other direction would be far less likely, and fewer even if they do occur.
So I guess my question is, will the LDP throw up another, prettier, face to replace Aso and fight the Lower House election before the novelty wears off? If so, how can they fit tranche II and the regular budget bill and the related legislative bills and the LDP presidential election into the political calendar? And the July Tokyo Prefectural Assembly election that has junior coalition partner New Komeito worried?