The Liberal Democratic Party

An explanation of its successes and failures

Authored by: Steven R. Reed

Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics

Print publication date:  February  2011
Online publication date:  February  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415551373
eBook ISBN: 9780203829875
Adobe ISBN: 9781136818387


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The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) can make a plausible claim to being the world’s most successful political party. It ruled Japan from 1955 through 1993 and, with the exception of one minor and short-lived coalition, in single-party majority governments. The only party with a similar record of success is the Democratic Party of the United States, with its majority in the House of Representatives from 1954 to 1994, two years longer than the LDP, but the U.S. Democrats were often “out of power” despite their majority in Congress because they had lost the presidential election. Several parties in parliamentary democracies, notably those in Sweden and Italy, were in power as long or longer but seldom commanded a majority.

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