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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 January 25 - 31  > Why is JCP negative about holding a direct election to choose party leader?
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2023 January 25 - 31 TOP3 [JCP]

Why is JCP negative about holding a direct election to choose party leader?

January 31, 2023

A political party is an organization of people who share the same political goals. The way to choose a party head varies depending on the party. The Japanese Communist Party adopts an election system in which the Party Congress elects members of the Central Committee and the Central Committee elects the party leader (officially known as the Executive Committee chair). In these elections, candidates will be nominated freely by self-recommendation or by recommendations from others.

The reason why the JCP uses this system is that the party prizes organizational unity above everything else.

The JCP had a painful experience with the so-called “1950 question”. In the 1950s, the JCP suffered a party split as a result of the interference by the former Soviet Union and China. After a protracted struggle, the JCP restored organizational unity. Based on this experience, the party established its organizational principle that “factions and splinter groups shall not be allowed to be formed within the party (Article 3 of the Party Constitution).” This principle is incompatible with a system of electing a party leader by a direct ballot by party members.

A direct election of a party head is normally accompanied by competition among candidates for increasing their supporters. When looking at political parties employing a direct vote system to elect their heads, candidates compete on who could get majority support by such means as setting up campaign teams and waging a drive for winning more votes than rivals. This allows the forming of intraparty factions and a weakening of party unity.

The JCP believes that party unity is vital from the standpoint of fulfilling the party’s responsibility to the general public.
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