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THE WEEK AHEAD

TOKYO : An Elaborate Puzzle

July 27, 1993

An eight-party coalition? Postponement of the opening of Parliament? Those and other options have been floated as Japan tries to form a new government in the aftermath of the first-ever defeat in the lower house of Parliament by Japan's perennial rulers, the Liberal Democrats.

At this point, the lower house, which will elect the new prime minister, is tentatively scheduled to reconvene next Monday. Firmer are plans for the Liberal Democrats to elect a new party president to replace Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, who resigned last Thursday.

The party is to accept registration of candidates Wednesday, hear policy speeches from them Thursday, and elect the new leader Friday.

Should the Liberal Democrats form a minority government or head a coalition, the new party president is likely to become prime minister.

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