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Asia-Pacific
Japan ruling party loses key post
Democrat becomes first opposition member to lead parliament's upper house.
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2007 07:32 GMT
Abe's ruling party lost the upper house to
the opposition for the first time
A Democratic party legislator has been elected leader of Japan's upper house of parliament - the first opposition member to hold the post.
 
Satsuki Eda was made president of the upper house on Tuesday after a unanimous vote was taken during a special session, dislodging the Liberal Democratic party (LDP) from the post.
The Democrats won 109 seats in elections last month to dominate the 242-seat upper house for the first time.
 
The ruling LDP led by Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, suffered one of its worst defeats in 50 years but still controls the more powerful lower house which chooses the prime minister.
Eda, the former chief of Japan's Science and Technology Agency, has served three terms in the upper house and four terms in the lower house.
 

"I think voters' expectations for the upper house are now extremely high"

Satsuki Eda, newly elected upper house president

"The makeup of the upper house has drastically changed after the upper house elections and we are facing a political situation we have never faced before," he told the session.

 

"I think voters' expectations for the upper house are now extremely high."

 

The upper house also elected Akiko Santo, a member of the LDP, as vice-president.
 
Abe has refused to step down despite sagging popularity and calls for his departure following a series of scandals including missing pension records and misuse of political funds.
 
Since he took office last September, three cabinet ministers have resigned and one committed suicide.

 

A cabinet reshuffle is expected later this month, according to the local media.

Source:
Agencies
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