Wed, Nov 15, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Koike quits as Party of Hope head after electoral thrashing

Reuters, TOKYO

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, whose opposition Party of Hope came a distant third to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party in a general election last month, yesterday said she would quit as party coleader.

Koike, a former ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker, launched the party to great fanfare ahead of the Oct. 22 lower house election and absorbed a big chunk of the failed opposition Democratic Party.

However, despite her bid to create what she called a “reformist, conservative” rival to Abe’s LDP, Koike’s party won only 51 seats in the 465-member lower house.

That tally was not only dwarfed by the LDP’s 283 seats, but also lagged the 54 seats taken by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), a group hastily formed by liberal-leaning former Democratic Party members.

Koike announced her decision at a televised meeting of her party legislators, also attended by Yuichiro Tamaki, who was elected as Party of Hope co-president.

Support for the Party of Hope was a mere 3.2 percent against 9.3 percent for the CDPJ and 37.1 percent for the LDP, an NHK survey released on Monday showed.

Abe has had a bounce in his ratings, a series of public opinion polls published this week indicated, but his support remains below 50 percent.

The NHK survey put support for his cabinet at 46 percent, a seven point rise from a September survey, with the most frequently given reason being “it is better than other Cabinets.”

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