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2017 Lower House Election / Koike, Maehara step up coordination for election

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Kibo no To leader Yuriko Koike, left, talks to reporters on Friday morning in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, after talks with Democratic Party President Seiji Maehara, right.

The Yomiuri ShimbunTokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who leads Kibo no To (Party of Hope), agreed with Democratic Party President Seiji Maehara on Friday to speed up coordination of candidates to run in the Oct. 22 House of Representatives election on her party’s ticket. The pair also agreed to speed up compilation of campaign pledges.

Koike is expected to decide whether to accept DP members hoping to join her party based on a list presented by the DP.

Koike and Maehara, who has decided to have his party effectively merge with Kibo no To, held talks at a Tokyo hotel on Friday.

After the 20-minute talks, Maehara told reporters: “What is important is a sense of trust. We confirmed that we need to think about how to win the election from a broader perspective.”

During the talks, it was also confirmed that Masaru Wakasa, a Kibo no To member and recently incumbent lower house member who is close to Koike, and Koichiro Genba, acting head of the DP’s election strategy headquarters, will lead talks on practical issues concerning candidate coordination.

Koike and Maehara also agreed to coordinate on crafting campaign pledges. Wakasa and DP Policy Research Committee Chairman Takeshi Shina will be in charge of that matter.

The DP submitted to Kibo no To a list of DP members hoping to join Kibo no To on Thursday night. About 230 members who were to run as the DP’s officially ticketed candidates, including recently incumbent lower house members and local chapter heads, are on the list. Maehara, who intends to run in the upcoming election as an independent, is not on the list.

“I hope [Kibo no To] will officially endorse all the DP candidates, but I want you to choose candidates who share the ideas and policies [of Kibo no To], and who can win in single-seat constituencies,” Maehara reportedly told Koike during Friday’s meeting.

Koike reiterated after the talks that her party will narrow down the list of candidates who would come from the DP based on “various viewpoints, such as whether they agree to our policies. We have no intention at all of accepting all of them.”

Koike plans to review the stances of those DP members on such issues as security policy and constitutional revision before deciding whether to give them places on her party’s official ticket.

Apparently with former prime ministers Naoto Kan and Yoshihiko Noda in mind, Kibo no To member and recently incumbent lower house member Goshi Hosono recently said, “We will kindly ask those who served as the head of any of the three branches of government to refrain from joining us.”

Regarding Hosono’s remark, Koike only said, “That is one way of thinking, but we’ll consider the matter comprehensively.”

A recently incumbent lower house member who belongs to the DP’s liberal forces told reporters on Friday: “All of us in the group will apply for Kibo no To’s official endorsement, but what we do afterward depends on how many of us are rejected. There are various options, including establishing a new party and running [in the election] as independents.”

The DP issued a notice on Friday morning to the DP members planning to run in the lower house election asking them to submit a letter of withdrawal from the DP and an application for Kibo no To’s official endorsement by Sunday.Speech

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