「ほっ」と。キャンペーン

統一地方選へ―失政のツケ払うのは住民

2011/01/19
--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 18
EDITORIAL: Unified local elections
統一地方選へ―失政のツケ払うのは住民

This spring, voters head to the polls for unified local elections.
 この春、統一地方選がある。

On April 10, 13 gubernatorial elections, including the one to choose the chief of the Tokyo metropolitan government, will be held along with polls to elect the assemblies for 44 prefectures, including Osaka. On April 24, mayoral and municipal assembly elections will take place around the nation.
 東京都をはじめ13知事選と、大阪府を含む44道府県議選などが4月10日に投開票される。24日には各地の市区町村長、議員選がある。

Due mainly to changes of election days caused by mergers among cities, towns and villages, the ratio of elections to be held this spring to all local polls will be a record low, falling to the 28-percent range.
Still, more than 1,000 local elections will be conducted nationwide, meaning that most voters will have at least one opportunity to cast ballots.
 市町村合併などで選挙日がずれ、統一率は過去最低の28%台だが、全国で1千を超す選挙がある。
ほとんどの有権者に投票の機会がめぐってくる。

Local politics today are quite different from what they used to be.
 いまの地方政治には、かつてない特徴がある。

A growing number of local government chiefs are locking horns with assemblies.
首長と議会が激突する構図が広がっていることだ。

On Monday, it was announced that a referendum on whether to dissolve the Nagoya city council will take place Feb. 6.
 折しも、きのう名古屋市議会の解散の是非を問う住民投票が告示された。

Mayor Takashi Kawamura is leading the recall campaign to dissolve the assembly, which rejected his proposal for permanent local tax cuts. He has collected signatures from more than 360,000 voters in the city.
市長が旗を振って36万人を超す署名を集め、自分の公約の恒久減税を拒んだ議会を解散させようとしている。

On Sunday, a mayoral election was held in the city of Akune, Kagoshima Prefecture. Its citizens, through an earlier referendum, had sacked Mayor Shinichi Takehara, who had long been at loggerheads with the municipal assembly.
 一昨日には、議会との対立が長引いて、住民投票で解職させられた鹿児島県阿久根市長の出直し選挙もあった。

Takehara, who was criticized for ignoring the assembly, was defeated in Sunday's vote. Citizens will deliver their verdict on the city assembly next month when a referendum is held on whether to dissolve it.
議会を無視した前市長は敗れたが、来月には議会解散をめぐる住民投票があり、住民は改めて議会と向き合う。

The developments in Nagoya and Akune represent two extreme examples of a clash between a local government chief and the assembly.
 ふたつの事例は「首長VS.議会」の過激な展開を見せつけている。

In both cases, the mayor acted in a high-handed way and treated the assembly as a nuisance, while the assembly lost the trust of citizens as it sat snug in the comfort of its privileges and apparently stopped acting on behalf of the public.
どちらも底流には、議会を邪魔もの扱いする市長の強引さと、特権にあぐらをかき、民意を代弁しているように見えない議会に対する住民の不信感がある。

Similar criticism of local assemblies has emerged in various parts of the country, and there are signs that many of the candidates for gubernatorial and mayoral elections this spring will promise to cut the numbers of local assembly members and their salaries.
 こうした議会批判はあちこちで起きており、統一地方選では議員の定数や報酬の削減を公約する首長候補者が続出しそうな気配すら漂う。

Osaka Governor Toru Hashimoto is also deeply unhappy with the prefectural assembly.
 大阪府の橋下徹知事も議会への不満が根強い。

Hashimoto has been campaigning to secure a majority for his own local political party in the prefectural assembly and the city assemblies of Osaka and Sakai.
His truculent stance toward the old-style assembly can be described as a form of "quarrel democracy."
みずからが代表の地域政党で府議会や大阪、堺両市議会の過半数をめざす手法は、旧来の議会に向かって、かかってこいよと言わんばかりの「ケンカ民主主義」といえる。

One question voters will face in the spring elections is how to assess such an approach to politics.
 議論で妥協点を探れないなら、選挙で一気に決着をつけるしか道はない。

Politicians in this camp tend to seek voters' decisions in an election when they fail to work out a political compromise through talks.
こんな政治手法をどう評価するのか。それも統一地方選の焦点になる。

What kind of relationship should there be between a local government head and the assembly, which are both elected as representatives of the public?
 それぞれ選挙で選ばれる二元代表制のもとで、首長と議会はどんな関係にあるべきなのか。

The political battles in Osaka, Nagoya and Akune offer good case studies that help voters tackle this question.
大阪や名古屋、阿久根での衝突は、「首長VS.議会」のあり方を考えるための好材料になる。

The role of citizens is a crucial issue in any debate on this topic.
 その際に、欠かせない視点が住民の役割だ。

In the past, many local assemblies used to rubber-stamp the local government chief's proposals because residents paid little attention to what their assemblies were doing.
首長の追認機関のような議会が当たり前のようにあったのは、住民の議会に対する関心があまりに低かったからにほかならない。

One big difference between local politics and national politics is that residents have the power to directly fire a local government chief or dissolve a local assembly through a referendum.
 地方政治と国政の大きな違いは、自治の現場では住民が直接、首長の解職や議会の解散までも住民投票で決められることだ。

Local governments should operate with tense relationships existing among the local chief, the assembly and the citizens, who can be directly involved in politics.
自治体は本来、首長と議会、住民の直接参加という三つの緊張関係で動かすものなのだ。

Therefore, residents must shoulder the burden if the local government goes bankrupt, as did the city of Yubari, Hokkaido.
 だから、北海道夕張市のように財政が破綻(はたん)すれば、負担は住民にのしかかる。

Under the principle of popular sovereignty, residents, who have the right to elect the local government chief and the assembly, must pay the price if those they elect mismanage their local politics.
主権者である住民は投票権を持つとともに、失政のツケを払う責任も背負わされているのだ。

Voters should keep this in mind as they cast their ballots this spring.
 この現実を胸に刻んで、首長や議員を選びに行こう。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2011-01-19 11:20 | 英字新聞

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