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DP leader Maehara declares he wants party to continue

Seiji Maehara (Mainichi)

Democratic Party (DP) leader Seiji Maehara abandoned a merger with the Party of Hope and declared he wants his party to continue as an independent force in an Oct. 25 speech in Tokyo.

"I don't want the DP's House of Councillors caucus and local chapters to break up," Maehara stated of the DP's future, following its spectacular fall from largest opposition party to fragmented remnant over the past several weeks.

The party leader added that he will hold a meeting of all DP Diet legislators on Oct. 27, where he will "take responsibility and clarify the next course of action for the party after reviewing the situation." Maehara also intends to address a national gathering of local DP chapter secretaries-general on Oct. 30 to explain the party's future direction.

It is thought that he will officially resign the DP leadership after the Oct. 30 meeting -- after first expressing his intention to do so at the Oct. 27 caucus meeting -- before joining the Party of Hope.

Regarding funds left in the DP purse, Maehara rejected the notion of it being transferred to other parties such as the Party of Hope, saying, "This is money that has been issued to the DP through taxpayer-funded political subsidies. Handing it over to the Party of Hope or the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) would be (inappropriate). Even if a new party is formed, the money should be kept by the DP."

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