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Electoral Reform and the Fate of Factions: The Case of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party

Gary W. Cox, Frances McCall Rosenbluth and Michael F. Thies
British Journal of Political Science
Vol. 29, No. 1 (Jan., 1999), pp. 33-56
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/194295
Page Count: 24
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Electoral Reform and the Fate of Factions: The Case of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party
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Abstract

For years, scholars and pundits have blamed Japan's single, non-transferable vote (SNTV) electoral system for the factions that divide and organize the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). In January 1994, Japan abandoned SNTV, and the first election under the new rules occurred in October 1996. If SNTV did in fact sustain the factions, it makes sense that the factional structure ought to have weakened under the new rules. In this article, we provide an informal model of what the old factional exchange between leaders and followers was like and investigate the extent to which the terms of this exchange, and hence the characteristics of Japanese factionalism, have begun to change under the new rules. We expect and find the largest decline in factional leaders' role in the area of nominations, and the slightest changes, at least in the short run, in the allocation of posts. On the other side of the exchange, we find that followers appear less willing to march to their leaders' tunes in LDP presidential elections.

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