Photo/IllutrationDemocratic Party leader Seiji Maehara at a post-election news conference held at the party's general headquarters in Tokyo’s Nagatacho district on Oct. 23 (Naoko Kawamura)

The Democratic Party will continue to exist despite having been torn apart and facing yet another decision to choose a new leader, a source close to the party said.

Seiji Maehara will step down as party president as early as Oct. 27 to take responsibility for the mess stemming from the Oct. 22 Lower House election, according to the source.

The Democratic Party will consist of Upper House lawmakers and regional members. They will select a new leader as early as next week and organize an administrative lineup by the start of the special Diet session scheduled to open on Nov. 1, the source said.

The 47 Upper House members of the party as well as Lower House members, including former leader Katsuya Okada and former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, are expected to attend an emergency Diet members meeting on Oct. 27.

Okada and Noda are still officially registered as Democratic Party members, but they ran and won their seats in the Lower House election as independents.

According to the source, Maehara plans to explain why he suggested the Democratic Party merge with Kibo no To (Hope) before the Oct. 10 start of the official campaign for the Lower House election.

After receiving opinions at the meeting, Maehara is expected to announce his resignation, less than two months after he was elected party president.

“I have to take all of the responsibility for the (election) results,” Maehara said in a lecture in Tokyo on Oct. 25. “In the end, it did not go as planned.”

His merger plan led to the splintering of the party, after the Hope party leader, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, said she did not want to join forces with liberal politicians of the Democratic Party.

The left-leaning candidates formed a new party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, which is now the main opposition force.

Maehara has since retracted his decision to merge with the Hope party.

The Democratic Party members who won seats in the Oct. 22 election under the Hope party ticket will become members of the Hope party.