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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 25 - 31  > LDP’s ‘landslide’ win in general election is due to single-seat constituency system
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2017 October 25 - 31 [POLITICS]

LDP’s ‘landslide’ win in general election is due to single-seat constituency system

October 25, 2017
In the House of Representatives election on October 22, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party obtained three-quarters of the contested seats under the single-member constituency system although only a quarter of all eligible voters cast their ballots for LDP candidates.

Of 289 single-member electoral districts, the LDP won seats in 215 districts or 74%. However, the total number of votes that the party received was 26.5 million or 48% of total votes cast, representing only 25% of the number of eligible voters in Japan. This result again highlighted the fact that the single-seat constituency system inevitably disregards votes for minor parties and awards a disproportionally large number of seats to the largest party.

On the other hand, in the proportional representation blocks, the LDP garnered 18.6 million votes or 33% of the total and secured 66 seats or 33%. The disparity is much smaller between the share of votes and the share of seats compared to the single-member electoral district system. This is no surprise because in a proportional representation system, political parties are allotted seats in accordance with the number of votes they received.

The Komei Party, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, polled 12.5 % of the total votes in the proportional representation blocks. The party’s share decreased by 1.2 percentage points from the previous election in 2014 and the party lost five seats. The percentage of votes cast to the Ishin no Kai party, a supplementary force to the LDP/Komei coalition, stood at 6.1%, down 9.7 percentage points from the previous election.

Under the current electoral system, voters in House of Representatives elections cast two ballots: one for a candidate in single-seat constituencies and the other for a political party in proportional representation blocks. In Sunday’s election, 289 parliamentarians were elected under the single-member system and 176 were chosen under the proportional representation system. Ever since the current electoral system favoring single-seat constituencies was introduced more than two decades ago, the Japanese Communist Party has criticized the single-seat system for its inability to reflect voters’ diverse opinions with the "winner take all" distribution of seats in the Diet. The party calls for the introduction of an electoral system centering on the proportional representation system.
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