Japan’s expanded main opposition party launched, aims to be viable alternative to LDP

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TOKYO, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) — A new main opposition party was formally launched Tuesday through the merger of the larger and former main Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) and the smaller Democratic Party for the People along with some independent groups.

The expanded party, headed by Yukio Edano, retained the same name of the larger CDPJ before the merger and with 150 members, which is the largest opposition force since the Democratic Party disbanded in 2017.

The newly formed CDPJ believes its is a party capable of taking on the main Liberal Democratic Party, with Edano previously saying the CDPJ can become a party that presents the electorate with a viable alternative to the lengthy and almost unbroken reign of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Edano said at a party convention on Tuesday that he was ready to go head-to-head with the newly-elected head of the ruling LDP, Yoshihide Suga, who will become prime minister and launch his Cabinet on Wednesday.

“Now is the time we have to present choices to the people through the party and push for a society where people support each other,” Edano said in a speech to party lawmakers at the convention.

Edano added that the LDP administration will promote “neoliberalism that requires excessive self-help.”

The party’s new executive lineup was approved at the convention and includes Secretary General Tetsuro Fukuyama, Policy Chief Kenta Izumi, Election Strategy Chief Hirofumi Hirano and Diet affairs Chief Jun Azumi.

Amid speculation, Suga may dissolve the lower house of parliament and call a snap election soon to extend the ruling party’s grip on power and seek public mandates. However, Edano, whose party has 107 lower house seats and 43 in the upper chamber, versus the LDP coalition’s combined 450 seats, has opposed the move.

Edano has said the nation’s new leader should focus on parliamentary discourse to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and preventative measures against natural disasters.

While LDP heavyweights have said that they expect a snap election to be held soon, Suga himself said he is not considering calling a snap election until the coronavirus pandemic is under control. Enditem

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