選挙制度論議 政治の安定へ衆参同時改革を

The Yomiuri Shimbun June 1, 2013
Lower and upper houses must be reformed at the same time
選挙制度論議 政治の安定へ衆参同時改革を(5月31日付・読売社説)

 ◆定数削減競争は大衆迎合だ

Although the current Diet session will end in less than one month, discussions on the comprehensive reform of the electoral system of the House of Representatives remain bogged down.
 今国会会期末まで1か月を切ったのに、衆院選挙制度の抜本改革論議は行き詰まったままだ。

There seems to be no desire in either the ruling or opposition camps to reach an agreement on the matter. This indicates that reform of the lower house election system is unlikely to happen before the end of the current Diet session on June 26.
 与野党に合意形成の機運がなく、実現はもはや困難な状況にある。

A bill jointly submitted by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito for rezoning lower house electoral districts by slashing five seats in the single-seat constituencies is to become law even if the House of Councillors does not discuss on it, through a second vote in the lower house before the end of the Diet session.
 自民、公明両党が国会に提出した、衆院小選挙区定数の「0増5減」を実現する区割り法案は、参院で審議されなくても、衆院で再可決され、成立する見通しだ。

The legislation, however, is nothing but a stopgap measure.
 だが、0増5減は、あくまでも緊急避難的な措置に過ぎない。

Now is the time for both blocs to start fresh and renew discussions for realizing comprehensive reform of the lower house election system.
 選挙制度の抜本改革を実現するために、与野党は、議論を仕切り直す時期に来ている。

Fears of Diet functions’ decline
 ◆立法機能低下に懸念

Among factors hampering formulating an accord between the ruling and opposition forces, the biggest is the disagreement over the number of lower house seats to be reduced.
 与野党の合意形成を妨げている最大の要因は、衆院議員の定数削減を巡る足並みの乱れだ。

The Democratic Party of Japan has insisted the number of seats, currently 480, be slashed by 80. They argue the parties “must accept some pain” through the seat reduction at a time when they are asking the public to bear the burden of a higher consumption tax.
 民主党は、消費増税に国民の理解を得るには国会議員自ら「身を切る」必要があるとして、定数80の削減を主張している。

The issue of cutting the number of lower house seats, however, has nothing to do with rectifying the current disparity in the value of individual votes between the least and most represented constituencies--the issue behind electoral reform discussions.
 しかし、定数削減は、選挙制度改革のきっかけとなった衆院小選挙区の「1票の格差」是正とは無関係である。

If the DPJ feels the need to “accept some pain,” it should focus on such steps as curtailing the annual salaries of Diet members and reducing government subsidies for political parties. These measures would certainly be more effective than reducing the number of lower house legislators.
 身を切ると言うなら、歳費や政党交付金を削るべきだろう。その方が効果も大きい。

The LDP is in favor of cutting 30 lower house seats in the proportional representation. This would leave 150 seats, 60 of which would be preferentially allotted to parties other than the top vote-getter. The LDP-envisioned reform plan is apparently in consideration of the wishes of its junior coalition partner Komeito. Can it be considered a fair and adequate electoral system to create preferential seat allocations for medium- and small-sized parties?
 自民党は比例定数を30削減して150とし、その中に60の中小政党優遇枠を設ける考えだ。公明党への配慮だが、中小政党に特別な枠を与えることが公正な制度と言えるのか。

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party, for their part, have proposed that the number of seats be reduced by 144 and 180, respectively.
 日本維新の会は144減、みんなの党は180減を唱えている。

It is almost as if the parties are vying for public attention simply over the extent of seat reduction.
削減幅を競うかのようである。

The fact that the parties seem to have found it effective to curry public favor merely by advocating a larger reduction in the number of lower house seats is deplorable, as these tactics smack of populism. The issue of reducing lower house seats must be discussed separately from the task of reforming the electoral system.
 国会議員を減らせば国民に歓迎されると政党が考えていること自体、大衆迎合主義的な発想で嘆かわしい。定数削減は選挙制度と切り離して議論する必要がある。

It is worth noting that the number of Japan’s legislators is relatively low compared with other industrially advanced democracies.
 そもそも、日本の国会議員数は先進国の中では少ない方だ。

The parties in power under the nation’s existing parliamentary system send their lawmakers into the government as Cabinet members, senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries.
 与党は閣僚ら政務三役を政府に送り込んでいる。

If the number of Diet seats is reduced, those who have to oversee multiple committees will increase. Additionally, small- and medium-sized parties will face the danger of losing the opportunity to voice their views. The result would be that the legislative powers of the Diet and its function of overseeing the administration could decline.
定数を削れば、国会では委員会を掛け持ちする議員が増える。中小政党も発言の機会を奪われる。立法能力や行政監視機能が低下しかねない。

In March 2011, the Supreme Court ruled the disparity rate in the value of votes in single-seat districts in the 2009 general election, which stood at a maximum 2.3-to-1, was in “a state of unconstitutionality.”
 最高裁は2011年3月、小選挙区の「1票の格差」が最大2・30倍となった09年の衆院選を「違憲状態」と判断した。

In handing down the decision, the top court pointed out that the current formula of uniformly allotting one single-seat electoral district seat to each of the 47 prefectures is a major cause of the vote-value disparity. It called for the formula to be abolished.
各都道府県にまず1議席を割り振る「1人別枠方式」が格差の主因と指摘し、廃止を求めた。

The Supreme Court’s ruling can be seen as the judiciary stepping into the sphere of the discretionary powers of the legislature.
 立法府の裁量権に司法が大きく踏み込んだと言えよう。

Gap correction not absolute
 ◆格差是正絶対視するな

In 14 lawsuits over the vote-value disparity in connection with the lower house election in December, high courts and their branches across the nation found the gap to be “unconstitutional” in their rulings.
 昨年12月の衆院選を巡る「1票の格差」訴訟では全国の高裁・支部で「違憲」判決が相次いだ。

Even the election itself was ruled to be “invalid” in two of these court decisions. However those rulings could be said to be irresponsible in light of the fact that no rules have yet been devised governing the holding of further elections to address such a problem.
一部には選挙無効という判決もあったが、再選挙のルールも確定しておらず、無責任ではないか。

The equality of vote values is not the only measure of the electoral system. Constituency elections are held based on administrative zones. Populations in rural areas have been dropping phenomenally in recent times. There are also problems peculiar to specific areas as well as extenuating economic and cultural circumstances that cannot be resolved simply by having constituency seats be a proportional reflection of the population.
 投票価値の平等は選挙制度の絶対的な基準ではない。選挙区選は行政区画を基に成り立っている。地方では人口減が著しい。人口比例だけで片づかない地域特有の問題や経済・文化的事情もある。

The establishment of an election system that can harmonize judicial rulings with real politics on the ground is what is needed.
 司法の判断と現実の政治を調和させる選挙制度が求められる。

If the proportional representation system is adopted fully for the lower house election, as advocated by the Japanese Communist Party, the will of the public can be more accurately reflected in the number of seats, thus eliminating the gap in vote value.
 共産党などが主張するような完全な比例代表制とすれば、確かに民意がそのまま獲得議席に反映されて、1票の格差はなくなる。

But it could make it easier for small and midsize parties to gain more seats, resulting in the creation of many small parties. Coalition governments would become the norm, destabilizing politics and creating a situation in which small and midsize parties hold the key to making policy decisions.
 しかし、中小政党も議席を得やすいだけに、多党化が避けられない。連立政権が常態化し、中小政党が政策決定のカギを握るなど、政治の不安定化を招く。

The most crucial question is how to translate the will of the people into a stable government.
 民意をいかに集約し、安定した政権を作るかという観点が最も重要だ。

To achieve this goal, the only realistic option is the revision of the current single-seat constituency plus proportional representation system, as advocated by the LDP and the DPJ, among others, and the reinstatement of the multiple-seat constituency system as demanded by some small parties.
 それには、自民、民主両党などが主張する現行の小選挙区比例代表並立制の手直しか、一部の小政党が求める中選挙区制の復活以外に、現実的な選択肢はないだろう。

The electoral system for the upper house must also be reviewed. We face an extraordinary situation in which the election systems of both chambers of the Diet have been judged to be in a “state of unconstitutionality.”
 参院の選挙制度も、併せて考えなければならない。今は、衆参両院いずれもが「違憲状態」にあると司法が断じる異例の事態だ。

Viewed optimistically, now is an excellent opportunity to reexamine the electoral systems of both Diet houses simultaneously.
 裏を返せば、衆参両院の制度を同時に見直す好機と言える。

Both systems are similar in that they comprise of elections in constituencies and elections held under proportional representation systems.
 衆院も参院も選挙区選と比例代表選を組み合わせる点で、似通った制度になっている。

Roles under bicameral system
 ◆二院制の役割議論せよ

An additional problem is that the upper house is said to have become “too strong.”
「強すぎる参院」の問題もある。

To put an end to “indecisive politics,” it is essential to engineer electoral systems for both houses that are less liable to cause a divided Diet in which the upper house is controlled by the opposition parties.
 「決められない政治」を脱するため、衆参のねじれが生じにくい制度を設計すべきだ。

First and foremost, it is crucial that fundamental discussions on the division of roles and authority between the two Diet chambers are held. We suggest that debate on revision of constitutional provisions on the bicameral system is also deepened.
 まずは、衆参各院にどんな役割と権能を持たせるかという根本的な議論が欠かせない。憲法の二院制に関する条項の見直し論議も深めてもらいたい。

As long as both houses continue to insist on their own uniqueness and political parties stick to partisan interests, it will be difficult to reach consensus on this issue, regardless of how much time is spent.
 衆参両院が従来のようにそれぞれ独自性を主張し、各党が党利党略にとらわれる限り、いくら時間をかけても合意は困難だ。

If the current situation continues unabated, there will be no alternative but to refer the matter to an independent third-party organization comprising experts with no partisan affiliations.
 今の状態が続くなら、各党の利害から離れた有識者による第三者機関に諮問するしかない。

In that instance, it would be vital that both the ruling and opposition parties work out legislative arrangements decisively by respecting the recommendations of such a panel.
その際、与野党は、答申を尊重して立法化することをしっかり取り決めておくことが肝要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 31, 2013)
(2013年5月31日01時15分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2013-06-02 07:13 | 英字新聞

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