自民総裁選告示 政権奪還が目指せる党首を

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 19, 2009)
LDP needs leader who can rule roost
自民総裁選告示 政権奪還が目指せる党首を(9月19日付・読売社説)

The Liberal Democratic Party officially announced Friday the date of its presidential election. This will be a golden opportunity for the former ruling party to restart from scratch after its historic defeat in the recent House of Representatives election.
 総選挙惨敗を受けた自民党の出直し総裁選が告示された。

Former Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, former Senior Vice Justice Minister Taro Kono and Yasutoshi Nishimura, former parliamentary vice foreign minister, have filed their candidacies for the election.
 谷垣禎一・元財務相、河野太郎・元法務副大臣、西村康稔(やすとし)・前外務政務官の3氏が立候補した。

The party has decided that votes will be cast and counted on Sept. 28. We hope the three candidates will use the time available to tell party members in plain language just how they plan to reform the party--and what kind of bitter medicine the LDP will have to swallow during the reform process. They must demonstrate they possess the leadership needed to help the party overcome the biggest crisis in its history.
 28日の投開票日まで、党の抜本改革の具体的な工程表と、改革に伴う“痛み”の大きさを率直に説明し、結党以来の危機を乗り越える指導力を持っていることを示してもらいたい。

Former Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe, who was considered a top contender to succeed former Prime Minister Taro Aso, and former Construction and Transport Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, who ran in last autumn's LDP presidential election, announced earlier they would not throw their hats in the ring.
 麻生前首相の後継に本命視された舛添要一・前厚生労働相や、昨秋の総裁選に出馬した石原伸晃・元国土交通相らは、早々と不出馬を宣言した。

Some observers believe that Masuzoe and Ishihara decided not to run this time because, even if elected, the next LDP president could not become prime minister as there is no prospect of the party returning to power any time soon.
 政権への早期復帰のめどが立たず、「首相になれない総裁」で終わる可能性が高いとみて、今回は見送ったとの見方もある。

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Might not be a 'next time'

However, the party is not in a situation where it can optimistically assume there will be a "next time."
 自民党は今、「次がある」などと楽観できる状況ではない。

The only other time the LDP found itself booted into the opposition was when the administration of Morihiro Hosokawa was launched in 1993. However, the LDP returned to the ruling bloc about 10 months later. At that time, the party was the largest force in both Diet chambers.
 1993年の細川政権誕生で野党に転落した時は、約10か月で政権復帰を果たしたが、当時は衆参両院とも第1党の座にあった。

The situation is completely different today: The Democratic Party of Japan is the strongest presence in both houses.
今回とは状況がまったく異なる。

Six prefectures including Niigata Prefecture have no LDP representative in the lower house. Iwate and two other prefectures have no LDP member in either Diet house. It is no stretch of the imagination to assume that pro-LDP industry organizations and local assembly members will gradually start leaning toward the DPJ and eventually become loyal supporters of the current ruling party.
 新潟など6県は衆院議員が1人もいなくなり、岩手など3県は国会議員がゼロだ。業界団体や地方議員が徐々に民主党になびいて、自民党から離反していく事態も十分予想される。

The LDP increased the number of votes given to representatives of prefectural chapters for the upcoming presidential election to 300 from the previous election's 141. It also will hold open debate meetings across the country. These measures reflect the party's recognition that there will not be a "next time" if its Diet members, local assembly members and rank-and-filers are not on the same page when it comes to rebuilding the party.
 地方票の割合を増やし、各地で公開討論会を催すのも、国会議員、地方議員、一般党員が一丸となって再建に取り組まなければ、「次」はないとの認識からだろう。

The three candidates said they will end the huge influence that factions hold over party management and personnel matters, and that incumbents will be given priority in the selection of election candidates. However, the necessity of such changes has been pointed out each time the party has been defeated in an election. It is natural that the party should carry out such reforms--this time could be the last chance to do so.
 3氏は、派閥が影響力を持つ党運営や人事、現職優先の候補者選考などを見直すとしている。いずれも選挙で敗北するたびに、改革の必要性が指摘されてきた。今度こそ実行しなければなるまい。

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Time to start rebuilding

More importantly, LDP members should start by bracing themselves for a lengthy stay on the opposition benches. Accepting this sobering likelihood will be the first step in strengthening the party to a point where it can carry out political activities, steadily and tenaciously, across the nation.
 それ以上に大事なのは、野党時代が長引くことを覚悟することだ。その上で、地道で粘り強い政治活動を全国で展開できる力を養うことである。

Government subsidies to the party are expected to plunge from about 15.7 billion yen before the lower house election to about 10.4 billion yen. The LDP will have little option but to slash the number of party staffers and members' secretaries. If the party is serious about winning next summer's House of Councillors election, it should not hesitate to make sweeping changes to its list of would-be candidates if necessary.
 政党交付金は、選挙前の約157億円から約104億円に激減する見込みだ。党職員や秘書の大幅なリストラは避けられない。来年夏の参院選に勝利するには、大胆な候補者差し替えもためらうべきではないだろう。

Such actions could invite a fierce backlash and even lead to a split in the party if they are not handled properly. Even so, the LDP needs a leader who can convince any skeptics within the party to get on board, and, if push comes to shove, overcome any defiance.
 激しい反発を招き、対応を誤ると分裂する恐れも出てこよう。それでも、党内を説得し、抵抗を突破できる指導者が、今の自民党には必要だ。

Even if a successful candidate obtains the support of local assembly members and rank-and-file party members, the LDP will be viewed by many people as a "political party incapable of transforming itself" if the new LDP president ducks important national issues by focusing on such matters as dispensing with factions or ushering in a generational change in the party.
 地方議員や一般党員の支持を得ようと、派閥解消や世代交代を唱えてお茶を濁すようなら、国民からは「自己変革できない政党」の烙印(らくいん)を押されるだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 19, 2009)
(2009年9月19日01時03分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-09-19 08:07 | 英字新聞

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