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Naha, House election dates may be merged

Date Posted: 2008-09-12

Naha City may find itself changing its November 16th election date to save money as details unfold about a probable House of Representatives dissolution in October, a move that will require new House elections.

Incumbent mayor Takeshi Onaga, who is seeking his third term as the capital city’s chief executive, faces opposition party candidate Chosei Taira. Both men and their campaign teams say they’re worried about the additional election preparations their camps will face if they must combine the mayoral election with one for new House of Representative members.

Once a new Prime Minister is elected to replace Yasuo Fukuda, who resigned last month, it is expected the House of Representatives will be dissolved by early November. The Liberal Democracy Party, the ruling party, says “The prime minister election will be good for us, and the LDP’s new Prime Minister will bring us back to a more liberal party.”

Political observers say a new House election date could be set for November 9th, a week before the present date for the Naha City mayoral election. Budget constraints could force the mayoral election to also jump forward to the same date. Officials say the costs of two elections would be wasteful and inefficient, noting the double number of election monitors, vote counters, etc., would strain the budget.

Governor Hirokazu Nakaima admits he’s a bit worried about what citizens are thinking now, noting the Prefecture Assembly is being ruled by the opposition party. The Liberal Democracy Party is concerned about what changes the House of Representatives campaign will do to local prefecture politics, particularly if the campaigns are run in active, vigorous fashion. Equally important, Naha City officials are examining voter preferences to see if the shifting political scene could impact local government.

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