Liberal Democratic Party of Japan

Published 30th November, 2012

The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan or LDP or Jimintō was founded in 1955 as the confusion following the Second World War was starting to produce strong parties. It describes itself as Centre-right and believes in Conservatism, Neoliberalism and Populism.

The LDP is the most successful post war party of any. In its first electoral outing in 1958 it won 298 of the 467 seats in the lower House of Representatives. From this very first election it remained the governing party until twelve general elections and 35 years later it dropped below an absolute majority in the 1993 general election with 223 of 511 seats in the lower house.

Even then it was out of power for eleven months only before it returned to power in a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the New Party Harbinger.

In 1996 it fell short of an absolute majority once more winning 239 seats out of a possible 500 but was able to form a coalition government which became the trend after the 2000 (233 seats) and 2003 (237 seats) elections.

In 2005 the LDP managed to obtain an absolute majority in the House of Representatives with 296 of the 480 seats in the lower house. But it went on to form a coalition government with the New Kōmeitō party to ensure a majority in the upper House of Councillors in 2007; it lasted until 2009 when a deeply unpopular LDP lost an election outright for the first time in 54 years.

The LDP are currently in opposition and have been since 2009, the longest period out of government since their formation. However, they are favourites to win the December 2012 election.

Like many parties in Japan the LDP is factionalised with three broad factions, the Heisei Kenkyukai from the Liberal Party; Kouchi Kai also from the Liberal Party and Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai from the Democratic Party.

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