When do You Follow the (National) Leader? Party switching by subnational legislators in Japan
Title: When do You Follow the (National) Leader? Party switching by subnational legislators in Japan
Citation: Electoral Studies, 2011, 30, 1, 148-161, Special Symposium on Electoral Democracy in the European Union
Series/Number: [EUDO Public Opinion Observatory]
In 1993, after 38 years of single-party control, more than 20% of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) House of Representatives members left the party to form new alternatives and create an anti-LDP coalition government. However, despite substantial popular support, the new parties attracted few subnational politicians. The effect of this lack of subnational party switching was substantial since the relatively small pool of subnational defectors meant that the new parties had difficulty forming the strong subnational bases of support that would help them to compete with the LDP in the future. In this paper, we consider why so few subnational politicians were willing to switch to these new party alternatives. Using case studies and conditional logit analysis of party affiliation pattern among prefectural assembly members in Japan, we find that party switching was most common among subnational politicians who had powerful patrons who had also left the LDP and had maintained especially good access to central government largesse. We also find that subnational politicians from urban areas, which depend less upon central government pork, were considerably less likely to switch parties, than their rural counterparts.
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction 2. The literature on party switching: summary and areas for additional work 3. The Japanese context 4. Analysis 5. Discussion and conclusion Acknowledgments Appendix. Idiosyncratic exceptions to the prefecture-level patterns References
Publication based on research carried out in the framework of the European Union Democracy Observatory (EUDO) of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute.; The journal issue has been produced in the framework of the PIREDEU Project, one of the projects carried out by the EUDO Public Opinion Observatory.
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