Photo/IllutrationSeiji Maehara, president of the Democratic Party, bows in apology in a general assembly of the party’s lawmakers in Tokyo on Oct. 27. (Takeshi Iwashita)

Remnants of the Democratic Party took turns blasting leader Seiji Maehara on Oct. 27, but they decided to maintain the depleted party, including its regional organizations.

At a general assembly in Tokyo of party lawmakers, Maehara officially announced his intention to resign as party president and apologized for his election strategy that ended up tearing apart what was then the main opposition force.

His resignation is expected to be approved at another general assembly on Oct. 30.

Maehara proposed a merger with Kibo no To (Hope) for the Oct. 22 Lower House election and decided to withhold official endorsement for Democratic Party candidates.

The Hope party, however, shunned liberal candidates from the Democratic Party, so they formed a new party. Others ran as independents.

“My decision did not lead to (good) results in the election,” Maehara said. “I cannot say that my decision was correct.”

The Democratic Party will soon start procedures to choose a new president. Some lawmakers are backing Katsuya Okada, a former party leader who ran and won as an independent in the election but kept his party membership.

The Hope party, meanwhile, decided in its general assembly on Oct. 27 to hold an election next month to choose a co-leader.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike heads the party, but she is not a Diet member. The co-leader is expected to serve as chief of the party’s lawmakers while assisting the governor.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party easily won the election, ensuring that Shinzo Abe will be chosen prime minister in the special Diet session on Nov. 1.

Hope party lawmakers confirmed they will vote for veteran politician Shu Watanabe in that Diet session.

A former vice defense minister, Watanabe has been elected to the Lower House eight times from the Shizuoka No. 6 constituency.

Atsushi Oshima was appointed secretary-general of the Hope party. Oshima was once secretary-general of the Democratic Party.

Another former Democratic Party lawmaker, Hirofumi Ryu, was appointed chairman of the Hope party’s Diet affairs committee.