Electoral Reform and the Fate of Factions: The Case of Japan's LDP
42 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2008
Date Written: March 10, 1998
For years, scholars and pundits have blamed Japan's single, non-transferable vote (SNTV) electoral system for the factions that divide and organize the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). In January 1994, Japan abandoned SNTV, and the first election under the new rules occurred in October 1996. If SNTV did in fact sustain the factions, it makes sense that the factional structure ought to weaken under the new rules. In this paper, we provide an informal model of what the old factional exchange between leaders and followers was like and investigate the extent to which the terms of this exchange, and hence the characteristics of Japanese factionalism, have begun to change under the new rules. We expect and find the largest decline in factional leaders' role in the area of nominations, and the slightest changes, at least in the short run, in the allocation of posts. On the other side of the exchange, we find that followers appear less willing to march to their leaders' tunes in LDP presidential elections.
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