Sunday, July 12, 2009

Aso pulls the trigger

Prime Minister Asō Tarō, facing open rebellion, has decided to exercise his nuclear option.

At an emergency meeting of LDP executives, the prime minister and the LDP agreed that the lower house will be dissolved on 21 July and the general election will be held on 30 August. Kōji will be on 18 August.

After two years of demanding a general election, the DPJ will finally get its chance to win control of the lower house.

Plenty will happen in the meantime, especially in the fight within the LDP. What will Nakagawa Hidenao and company do now that Asō has gone ahead and decided on an election, without the party's drafting a manifesto (as demanded by the Manifesto Association)? Nagasaki Kotaro, a Koizumi child from the South Kanto Block, announced Monday that he is leaving the LDP. Will others follow?


AC said...

I'm curious as to why you view this as Aso having "exercised the nuclear option." Calling an election for August 30 that would otherwise by law be required no later than September strikes me less as any kind of bold move and more as tinkering at the margins regarding timing.

Tobias Harris said...

Because it's a lot harder for his opponents within the LDP to move against him once he's decided to dissolve the Diet and call an election. The Aug. 30 date was a concession to the party leaders — whose support he needs — but the July 21 is essential for Aso to continue to wield the reins.

At least that's how it looks to me.

Tobias Harris said...

And the government has until October to hold the election.

Bryce said...

October 20th, to be precise.

Why did Aso want the 8th? To give nobody time to topple him?

We also must take into account the possibility that the Hatoyama funding scandal will erupt into a bigger mess than it already has. Although I suspect nobody cares any more.

AC said...

On further thought, I guess you're right. I had assumed that the window for dumping Aso had already closed, as replacing him with little more than two months to go before an election campaign would serve as an effective admission of incompetence on the part of the government, the latest in a string of failed administrations. I think the LDP is actually better off keeping him on at this point and running against the DPJ, and this is apparently their strategy, though they would have had much better luck employing this against Ozawa. Dumping Aso now would likely backfire, turning the focus of attention to the divisions within the LDP and the party's sorry track record of late.

One way or the other, though, I don't see how they can win the election.