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2014年4月27日 (日)

参院選制度改革 「合区」案は受け入れられるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:40 pm, April 26, 2014
Parties must accelerate study on upper house poll reform plan
参院選制度改革 「合区」案は受け入れられるか

It is understandable that a reform proposal is intended to correct the vote-value disparity in the House of Councillors election and resolve a situation denounced by courts as being in “a state of unconstitutionality.” However, it is questionable whether the proposal will be able to fully reflect the voices of people in depopulated areas in national politics.
 参院選の「1票の格差」を是正し、「違憲状態」を解消する目的は理解できる。ただ、人口減に悩む地方の声が国政に十分反映されるかどうか。

Discussions must be deepened based on the proposal.
 この案をたたき台に、議論を深めてもらいたい。

The proposal has been submitted by Masashi Waki, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party’s upper house caucus, who chairs the upper chamber election reform council. The reform plan calls for integrating constituencies that have small numbers of voters per lawmaker with neighboring electoral districts. It is a plan with great impact.
 参院選挙制度協議会座長の脇雅史参院自民党幹事長が、参院選改革の座長案を示した。議員1人当たりの人口が少ない選挙区を隣接区と統合する「合区」を導入するインパクトのある案である。

Eleven combined constituencies, including Tottori/Shimane, Tokushima/Kochi and Osaka/Wakayama, will be created, while the number of seats contested every three years will be increased by one each in Tokyo, Kanagawa and four other constituencies. As a result, Tokyo will have a total of six seats up for grabs every three years, and the number of single-seat constituencies will be reduced to 17.
 「鳥取・島根」「徳島・高知」「大阪・和歌山」など11の合区を作る一方、東京、神奈川など6選挙区の改選定数は1ずつ増やす。東京は「6人区」となり、「1人区」は17選挙区に抑えられる。

Under this plan, it is said the maximum gap in vote values would instantly shrink from 4.77-to-1 to 1.83-to-1.
 1票の格差は、昨年の参院選の最大4・77倍から1・83倍へ一気に縮小されるという。

The proposal could be regarded as a “drastic reform” even though it maintains the current framework of a total of 242 upper house seats being chosen through elections in constituencies and the national representation bloc, with half of the seats contested in elections every three years. The term for upper house members is six years.
 選挙区選と全国比例選を組み合わせた現行制度の骨格と参院定数242は維持しているが、「抜本改革」案と言えるだろう。

As Waki put forth an ambitious plan to hold down the vote-value disparity to less than 2-to-1, reorganized constituencies transcending long-standing prefectural borders will directly affect a total of 22 prefectures.
 脇氏が、参院で1票の格差を「2倍以内」に抑えるという野心的な方針を掲げた結果、長年定着している都道府県の行政単位を超える選挙区が22府県にも上る。

Resistance likely

Resistance is anticipated against combining constituencies with different cultures and history.
 文化や歴史が異なる選挙区の合区には、抵抗も予想される。

Especially in connection with the plan to combine constituencies in which one seat is up for grabs every three years, there is a great possibility that dissatisfaction will mount on the part of prefectures with smaller populations. They are expected to complain “we can no longer send our delegates to the upper chamber.”
 特に、改選定数1の合区では、人口が少ない方の県から「参院に我々の代表を送れなくなる」との不満が出る可能性が大きい。

It will become necessary for political parties to coordinate such items as putting up candidates alternately from the neighboring two prefectures.
 各党は、隣接する両県から3年ごとに交互に候補者を擁立するなどの調整も必要となろう。

As for the proportional representation election, the reform plan calls for parties to list candidates in order of priority. This is considered to be aimed at leaving room for parties to coordinate on the selection of candidates, but there is no denying it will create a complicated system.
 比例選は、各党が候補者の名簿順位をつけられる仕組みにする。合区における候補者調整の余地を残すのが狙いだろうが、複雑な制度になるのは否めない。

The parties with seats in the upper house are scheduled to compile their views next month based on the proposal offered by Waki. He aims to obtain a consensus on the reform plan during the current Diet session, but opinions remain apart.
 参院各党は、座長案を踏まえて来月中に見解をまとめる予定だ。脇氏は、今国会中の改革案の合意を目指しているが、各党の主張には依然、隔たりがある。

The LDP has no specific reform plan for now. Its coalition partner, New Komeito, insists on adopting a large constituency system by dividing electoral districts into 11 blocs, while the Democratic Party of Japan is studying a plan to reduce the fixed number of upper house seats by about 40. The Japanese Communist Party and other parties call for introducing a full proportional representation election system.
 自民党には現在、特定の改革案はない。公明党は11ブロック程度の大選挙区制を主張し、民主党は40程度の定数削減案を検討中だ。共産党などは、完全比例選の導入を提案している。

The number of Diet members in relation to the population is far from overwhelming compared with other countries. Thus, cuts in the fixed number of seats as asserted by the DPJ should be detached from discussions on the reform plan offered this time.
 日本の国会議員が人口比では他国と比べて決して多くない以上、民主党が主張する定数削減は今回の改革と切り離すべきだ。

The parties must step up their study of the reform plan ahead of the next upper house poll, set for 2016, when the new system is targeted to be adopted.
 新制度の導入を目指す2016年の次期参院選に向けて、各党は検討を急がねばならない。

Should the rectification of vote-value disparities be a top-priority issue? How should roles and functions be divided between the House of Representatives and the upper house? Discussions on these essential issues are also indispensable.
 1票の格差是正が最優先の課題なのか。衆院と参院の役割・機能分担はどうあるべきか。こうした本質的な議論も欠かせまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 26, 2014)

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