Fujimori to run for upper-house seat?

Yes, Alberto Fujimori is considering a run for office again, this time for the upper house, only not of the country for which he was formerly president, Peru (which does not even have an upper house currently). Rather, he is being recruited by a small party to be a candidate in the upper-house election next month in Japan, where he has lived since resigning the presidency in disgrace. (He holds dual citizenship.)

The party in question is the Peoples New Party, which was one of the parties formed by the “traitors“–the LDP (ruling party) legislators who in 2005 voted against then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s postal privatization plan. The defectors on that vote caused the bill to be defeated in the upper house, and Koizumi responded by dissolving the lower house and making the snap (11 September 2005) election a “referendum” on postal privatization, running “assassins” (Koizumi-recruited candidates with popularity outside of politics) against the “traitors.” Koizumi won big, but some of the traitors were reelected under their new party labels and now the PNP is struggling to survive as a a small old-timey conservative party.

The upper house in Japan, the House of Councillors, is elected partly by nominal voting (specifically, SNTV), and partly by a national tier which uses open-list PR (in which voters write either the name of their political party of choice or the name of a candidate on a party list). So there is most certainly a premium on running well known candidates–in both tiers. And Fujimori, the son of Japanese-born parents who emigrated to Peru, is certainly well known in Japan. He is being considered as a candidate in Tokyo’s four-seat electoral district, in which voters choose one candidate (i.e. the nominal tier), although the possibility of his being a candidate in the national open-list tier is also not ruled out.

An irony in this is that Fujimori, during at least the first term of his presidency, was a darling of the international group of “privatizers.” Now he might run as a candidate of a party that was born in reaction against a privatization plan.

Thanks to Steven Taylor at PoliBlog for the tip.

0 thoughts on “Fujimori to run for upper-house seat?

  1. So is Fujimori eligible or not? Santiago Times reports that:

    On June 19 Japanese officials said a Fujimori senate candidacy is “unviable” because all candidates must be residents of Japan 35 days before the election takes place. Japan’s legislative elections occur July 29, making it impossible for Fujimori to meet the residency requirement [because he has been in Chile under house arrest].

    (That item was sent to me, linkless, by a correspondent.) Various other news items today suggest that he is running after all, and for one of the seats on the national (open) list of the PNP.

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