Abe says no simultaneous parliamentary elections next summer, eyes electoral reform
Updated: 2015-12-05 20:39
TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not considering holding simultaneous upper and lower house elections next summer despite rumors to the contrary claiming he planned to dissolve the lower house of parliament and schedule a general election to coincide with the scheduled upper house elections next summer.
Abe told reporters Saturday that such notions that had originated from some senior members of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) were not in line with his thinking and that he was more concerned with reforming the electoral system as vote disparities have consistently called into question the constitutionality of past elections.
"I am not thinking of simultaneous elections at all. For now I want to wait for a report of discussions being held by experts on electoral system reform, expected in January," the prime minister said.
Numerous courts have found there to be a vote weight disparity in regions that were more densely populated compared to less populated areas and have ruled the election results to be in a state of unconstitutionality or outright unconstitutional, but have not gone as far as to negate the results, as such a move is, as yet, unprecedented.
Japan's top Supreme Court in November also ruled that the lower house election in 2014, in line with a unified view on a total of 17 lawsuits over vote-value disparities in the lower house, were "in a state of unconstitutionality."
The nation's top court, however, stopped short of invalidating the outcome of the election, despite being petitioned to do so.
Following an evaluation of the vote-value disparities in single-seat constituencies, it was found that a single vote in the least populated constituency was worth 2.13 times the value of one in the most heavily populated district, marking the third time the election has been ruled to be in a state of unconstitutionality since 1994 by the Supreme Court.
The court ruled similarly in regards to the results of the lower house election held in 2009 as well as in 2012.