Monday, August 31, 2015   

Dark clouds over Japanese votes
(03-26 13:39)

Japanese politicians were grappling with possible implications after a high court said some general election results were invalid, with other rulings expected later in the day.
Judges in Hiroshima, western Japan, declared the ballot in two constituencies in last December's poll were unconstitutional and invalid. The ruling said a huge disparity in the value of votes, caused by the vastly differing sizes of constituencies, meant some voters were partially disenfranchised, AFP reports.
However, the election result does not immediately get overturned and will be appealed to the supreme court.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said the ruling will be accepted.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government on Tuesday faces seven other district and high court rulings over the weight of votes in Tokyo, Osaka, and other parts of Japan.
A further verdict is expected tomorrow, bringing to 16 the total that will have gone through the courts since the December poll.
The high court ruling said politicians failed to correct vote disparities within a “reasonable period of time that is allowed under the constitution'', after the supreme court said in March 2011 the existing election districts were “unconstitutional.’’
“The verdict on Monday is a message from the judiciary that politicians should lose no time in reforming the constituency system,'' said Mikitaka Masuyama, professor of politics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
   
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