Nobody expects Japan's main opposition party to dethrone Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ruling Liberal Democrats in elections this weekend. But they might pull within range of another elusive goal -- the creation of a viable two-party system.
Capitalizing on voter frustration with government waste, a long stagnant economy and successive scandals under the Liberal Democratic Party, the opposition Democrats are putting up the most serious challenge to the ruling bloc in years.
"This election is also about whether we can create a new Japanese democracy," Democratic leader Naoto Kan has told voters. "Whether we can build a two-party system depends on the outcome of this election."
Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed by Gallup, CNN and USA Today in mid-September said they had voted for an Independent or third-party candidate for president in the past.
In a separate question, 23 percent said they would like to see 2000 Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader run for president in 2004, but 66 percent would not.
In the mid-October Princeton Survey Research Associates/Pew Research Center poll, 46 percent agreed that the United States should have a third major political party; 44 percent disagreed. In the late October ABC News/Washington Post poll, 47 percent said we should have one or two more political parties in addition to the Democratic and Republican parties, but 51 percent said the two parties are enough.
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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.