The merger of Japan’s largest opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, with the Democratic Party for the People, was officially finalized Tuesday in the hopes of once again forming a stable counterweight to the governing Liberal Democratic Party. After the resignation of long-time prime minister Shinzo Abe, successor Yoshihide Suga is confronted with still-growing coronavirus cases and a chronic economic slump ahead of the parliamentary elections next year.
According to information by the Japan Times and official websites by the Japanese parliament, 107 lawmakers are now part of the CDP in the lower house, while a total of 119 – including Independents – are registered as part of the CDP voting group. The group only holds 26 percent of votes in the chamber but can now chalk up 23 percent to party members proper. In the upper house, party membership grew to 43, but according to a government website, 15 more representatives have yet to officially confirm their affiliation, which could grow the respective voting group to 58 – or 24 percent of votes.
After the demise of the Democratic Party, which had previously disrupted the long-time LDP rule between 2009 and 2012, Japan’s opposition has struggled to maintain consistency. The center-left CDP, which split from the Democrats in 2017, is now the main opposition contender, but it remains to be seen if the absorption of the more right-leaning DPFP will bring unity or more division.