Yomiuri Survey of DPJ: Mr. Maehara Top Choice for Next Prime Minister, Followed by Mr. Edano and Mr. Okada; Historically, Prime Ministers Lose Political Capital After Announcing Intent to Resign

Yomiuri Survey of DPJ: Mr. Maehara Top Choice for Next Prime Minister, Followed by Mr. Edano and Mr. Okada
Yomiuri Shimbun: ポスト菅は前原氏首位、追う枝野氏ら…読売調査
June 5, 2011

Since Prime Minister Naoto Kan suggested he intends to resign, the Democratic Party of Japan has turned its attention to the “post-Kan” government, and there is already genuine competition for the role of next party leader.

According to a national survey of DPJ members conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun June 3-4, former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara has the most support at 14%, followed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano and Chief Party Secretary Okada at 9% each, but each person has good points and bad ones.

Mr. Maehara has much experience as a representative and cabinet minister. He is well-versed in national security policy, and more than a few Liberal Democratic Party members would be willing to work with him. However, he resigned from office just this March after it was discovered that he received an illegal campaign donation from a Korean, so he is cautious about pursuing the Prime Minister’s office.

Mr. Edano’s name recognition has improved of his daily press conferences after the Great Tōhoku Earthquake, but it is said that “live or die, he and Prime Minister Kan share the same fate.” Mr. Okada has taken much of the blame for the DPJ’s nationwide defeats in local elections this April.

Historically, Prime Ministers Lose Political Capital After Announcing Intent to Resign
Yomiuri Shimbun: 歴代首相、退陣表明・辞意発言後の求心力低下
June 5, 2011

There are more than a few examples of Japanese Prime Ministers finding it more difficult to govern after they’ve announced they intend to resign in the near future.

In March 2001, Prime Minister Moriyama, beset by low approval ratings and a strengthening push for his resignation, announced to Liberal Democratic Party leaders that he would move up the date of the presidential election. Although he stayed in the position until April, the political world had already turned its attention to determining the “Post-Mori” government.

When the Recruit Scandal brought the 1989 budget deliberations to a standstill, Prime Minister Takeshita announced that because of low public confidence in government, he would resign after the budget passed. But with the House of Councillors [upper house] election coming up, the opposition parties didn’t step down from their oppositional stance, and no progress was made on the government’s most important priority, amending the Political Funds Control Law.

Governance has even been hindered when a Prime Minister’s intent to resign was leaked rather than announced.

Prime Minister Uno, who took over in June 1989 after Mr. Takeshita resign, was immediately damaged by defeats in the upper house by-elections and his own sexual scandals. Less than a month after taking office, party leadership leaked that he intended to resign. Though he was urged to reconsider, his party suffered a crushing defeat in the House of Councillors general election that July; he took responsibility for it and resigned, concluding a reign of only 69 days.

Prime Minister Hosokawa, the leader of the first non-LDP government of the modern era, was driven out of office in April 1994 because of his illicit loan from the delivery company Tokyo Sagawa Kyubin. Someone told the press that during a dinner meeting with members of the House of Councillors, he said, “I’m exhausted, and I want to resign.” He immediately denied that rumor but left office a little more than 20 days later.

Original/原稿:
ポスト菅は前原氏首位、追う枝野氏ら…読売調査

 菅首相が退陣を示唆したことで、民主党内では「ポスト菅」に向け、党代表選をにらんだ動きが本格化しそうだ。

 読売新聞社が3~4日に実施した全国世論調査で「次の首相に誰が最もふさわしいと思うか」を聞いたところ、党内では前原誠司・前外相が14%でトップに立ち、枝野官房長官と岡田幹事長が9%で次点で並んだが、3人とも一長一短ある状況だ。

 前原氏は代表経験者で複数の閣僚も経験している。安全保障に詳しく、自民党にも連携を望む声が少なくない。ただ、3月に在日韓国人からの献金問題で外相を辞任したばかりで、前原氏自身は代表選出馬に慎重とされる。

 枝野氏は東日本大震災後、連日のように記者会見したことで知名度を高めたが、「菅首相と一蓮托生(いちれんたくしょう)」などの指摘もある。岡田氏も、4月の統一地方選敗北の責任などを問う声が党内で強まっている。
(2011年6月5日06時39分 読売新聞)

歴代首相、退陣表明・辞意発言後の求心力低下

 これまでの政権では、首相が退陣表明や辞意と受け取られる発言をすると、政権運営が難しくなる例が少なくない。

 低支持率に悩んだ森元首相は、「森降ろし」の動きが強まった2001年3月、自民党幹部に総裁選を繰り上げ実施する意向を示し、事実上の退陣を表明した。4月まで首相を務めたものの、政界の焦点は「ポスト森」選びに急速に移った。

 竹下元首相は、リクルート事件の影響で1989年度予算案の審議が行き詰まっていた89年4月、政治不信の高まりを理由に予算案成立後の退陣を表明した。しかし参院選を控えていたこともあり、野党側は対決姿勢を崩さず、重要法案とされた政治資金規正法改正案の審議も進まなかった。

 首相が辞意を漏らしただけでも、政権運営に影響した例もある。

 竹下氏の後任として89年6月に首相となった宇野元首相は、自らの女性問題や参院補欠選挙などの敗北などもあり、就任から1か月足らずで与党幹部に辞意を漏らした。その後、翻意したものの7月の参院選大敗の責任を取って辞任し、69日の短命政権に終わった。

 非自民連立政権を率いた細川元首相も東京佐川急便からの借り入れ問題で野党の追及を受けていた94年4月、参院議員との会食の席で、「疲れたから辞めたい」と漏らした。いったんは発言を否定したが、20日余りで退陣した。
(2011年6月5日09時25分 読売新聞)

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