Related News

Home » World

Japan's democrats to pick new leader today

JAPAN'S opposition Democratic Party is to pick a new leader today who, it hopes, will revive its chances of winning a looming election.

Opinion polls put the Democrats ahead of Prime Minister Taro Aso's long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, but a fundraising scandal has narrowed the lead, forcing party leader Ichiro Ozawa to step down on Monday.

"This is a leadership election to give the people hope again for the Democratic Party and achieve a change in government," Katsuya Okada, an ex-party chief running for the top post, said in a debate with rival Yukio Hatoyama yesterday.

A Democratic Party victory would end more than 50 years of almost unbroken LDP rule and raise the chances of a breakthrough in political deadlock that has stymied policy as Japan struggles with its worst recession in 60 years.

The Democrats have pledged to cut wasteful spending, reduce bureaucrats' control of policy and forge a stronger foreign policy.

But both the ruling and opposition parties have made stimulating the economy a priority rather than fixing Japan's tattered public finances, so the short-term implications for financial markets are not so great.

A victory by the 55-year-old Okada, a policy expert with an image as an earnest "Mr Clean," could help the Democrats' chances of winning an election that must be held by October.

A win by rival Hatoyama, 62, the wealthy son of a former prime minister, would probably provide less of a boost but could help the sometimes fractious Democrats unify going into the election.

Media surveys have shown Hatoyama in the lead among the 221 Democratic Party politicians who can participate in the poll, but ordinary voters favor Okadat.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend