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2009年9月29日 (火)

谷垣自民党総裁 解党的出直しの先頭に立て

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 29, 2009)
Tanigaki must initiate LDP's transformation
谷垣自民党総裁 解党的出直しの先頭に立て(9月29日付・読売社説)

Former Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki has been picked as the new president of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party.

The new LDP leader's eventual goal is to regain control of the government. To do so, the LDP must first carry out root-and-branch reform of the party so it can start from the beginning again.

At the same time, the LDP should adopt a cooperative stance by working with the ruling Democratic Party of Japan on important policies concerning matters of national interest and make efforts to realize them, not merely criticize the DPJ-led administration from the standpoint of an opposition party.

Voting and vote-counting for the LDP presidential election were held Monday. Veteran lawmaker Tanigaki beat his two younger contenders--former Senior Vice Justice Minister Taro Kono and former Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Tanigaki faces a heavy responsibility in bringing about the rebirth of the LDP after its crushing defeat in the recent House of Representatives election.

Tanigaki's victory likely came as a result of the fact that both LDP Diet lawmakers and rank-and-file party members highly evaluate his experience in important cabinet and party posts, the sense of stability he projects and his mild-mannered personality.

Tanigaki asserted that the LDP should take a whole-party approach that he described as "a baseball team determined to win by employing all the players' strengths in a unified manner." Kono dismissed Tanigaki's analogy, severely criticizing the party's factional politics, but his harsh approach--demanding the expulsion of faction leaders--won little understanding.


LDP should take fight to DPJ

The Diet is the main battlefield of an opposition party.

Tanigaki has stressed that the LDP must ensure the ruling parties fulfill their responsibilities, and that it must come up with well-conceived policies and not lose heart. At the same time, he said the LDP will have no future if it merely finds fault with the ruling parties.

Tanigaki is right. The LDP should trade verbal blows toe-to-toe with the ruling parties on tax and financial issues, including on the issues of a hike in the consumption tax and national security. The party should also highlight contradictions in the DPJ's policies and present responsible counterproposals.

If LDP lawmakers, young and old alike, question ruling party members in Diet deliberations from such a point of view, the party will recover its vitality. Tanigaki himself should take the lead in setting a good example in Diet deliberations, including party leader debates with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

Reconstructing the party will be no easy task. Personnel management and national elections, including the House of Councillors election to be held next summer, will be the first hurdles for Tanigaki.


Winning urban vote key

The fact that Kono and Nishimura, who both asserted the necessity for a generational change in the presidential election, gained a measure of support may signify a desire within the party for a drastic change in the system of allocating party executive posts. To give the party's top echelon a makeover, young and middle-aged lawmakers should be appointed to senior posts.

In the next upper house election, the LDP must entrust the party leadership with decision-making power and rethink its strategies, including on candidate selection.

As for the LDP's election strategy, if the party focuses on the rural vote, its prospects will remain dim. The important thing is for it to come up with policies that strike a chord with urban residents in the prime of life. It is indispensable for the LDP to present a clear vision to counter the DPJ's, such as its own growth strategy and a new model for the ideal shape of the nation.

Convincing voters that the LDP has changed would be a step toward a return to power.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 29, 2009)
(2009年9月29日01時04分  読売新聞)


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