How people elect parliaments
The incumbent government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks likely to win a landslide in this weekend’s snap national elections.
The long-dominant Liberal Democrat Party, despite recent scandals, is leading in the polls amid national anxiety over North Korean security concerns.
The government’s support is tepid, however. But support for opposition parties is even weaker and is divided, and much of the Japanese electorate its searching for new inspiration.
The established opposition Democratic Party of Japan has split, with its ‘conservative’ element merging with the new Kibō no Tō (Party of Hope) party, which was only created earlier in 2017 to allow Yuriko Koike to contest – and win – the important Tokyo metropolitan elections held in July.
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party has become the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP).
Government partner Komieto, as well as the opposition Communist Party of Japan, should also win some seats.
More than half the seats in the Shūgi-in – the lower house of the national parliament – will be won in 289 single-member districts by the plurality voting method. On current polling the LDP could sweep the field of these seats, possible approaching a majority of the 465-seat house outright.
The final 176 seats are awarded to party lists in proportion to vote shares in 11 large electoral regions. Each region’s proportional calculations are done separately.
But unlike many PartyPR electoral systems, in Japan the national party seats totals in the Shūgi-in are not made proportional to total national vote shares. The additional regional party-allocated seats are simply on top of the 289 plurality-won district seats.
Polling regarding proportional-region vote intentions has the LDP at 32-34%, the progressive CDP at 13-14%, and Kibō no Tō at between 11% and 15%, with several minor parties in single digit support.
Around 25% of the electorate is being reported as undecided.
Overall Polling intentions for the district seats also has the LDP on around 33%, but the minor parties are polling even lower support levels. Around 40% of the voters are still undecided.