Saturday, 13 September 2008

Race For The Prize

Well, we've had a week of campaigning for the LDP Presidential Election. I've been following the campaigns very closely on your behalf, and you know what? It's been a fairly depressing week.

You see, it's pretty much a given that Aso is going to win - he currently holds more votes than the other four candidates put together. At 197 out of 386 available votes, he's clearly not going to be beaten. With 34 votes secured is Yosano, in what the Yomiuri Shimbun are laughably calling "second-place". On the off-chance that Yosano can mobilise every prefecture to use their three votes each for him, then he may only lose by 22 votes. The other three aren't even worth talking about any more.

Once Aso has won, which he definitely will, he'll call for the Lower House to be dissolved. Then there will be a general election, which at this point is being projected for the 9th of November. Asahi conducted a poll which puts public support for Aso in the LDP election at 42%. Ishihara came second with 10%. This is all in stark constrast to the Official Osu! Tatakae! Nippon! poll of readers, which puts Ishihara in the lead with 66%, and Ishiba in second with 33% (voting still open - see the sidebar). The Asahi Poll of actual, potential voters is more important in this discussion though.

Everything seems to indicate that whoever succeeds Fukuda as the LDP President (so, Aso) will also succeed him at the next general election. Which in some ways could be a bad thing - the reason it takes so long to pass laws in Japan at the moment is that the Upper House is a DPJ stronghold, and they're constantly at odds with the LDP Lower House. Then again, I definitely don't think it would be a better government with Ozawa at the helm - he's not very trustworthy. He claims that he's one of the few politicians with principles and ideals in Japan, but his policies and political-party-jumping clearly show that he's an opportunist.

Like I say, though, it's not likely that Ozawa will win - people may be tired of the LDP, but popularity always spikes with a leadership change. The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a series of polls which showed that if Aso won (which he will), he would beat Ozawa 59% to 27.6%. If Ishihara won (which he won't), he would also beat Ozawa, but only by 43.5% to 40.1%. The other three all lose in those Vs. Ozawa polls by at least 10%.

So, now you know what's going to happen over the next two months. Aso will win on the 22nd, and then on the 9th of November he'll become Prime Minister. For definite.