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Parliamentary elections in Japan: ruling coalition remains in power

Status: October 31, 2021 5:18 pm

Japan’s ruling party LDP led by Prime Minister Kishida suffered a setback in the general election. With her coalition partner Komeito, media reports show that she secured a majority again.

In Japan, the ruling coalition won a majority in the parliamentary elections despite significant losses. The liberal democratic ruling party LDP of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida alone achieved more than an absolute majority of 233 of the total of 465 seats in the lower house, as reported by the Japanese television station NHK. Together with its junior partner Komeito, the party secured a majority of around 260 seats in the relevant chamber of the national parliament.

So far the coalition had 305 seats. The LDP lost some of its previous 276 seats to the opposition. Kishida, who has only been in office for a few weeks, nevertheless rated the result as a “valuable mandate”. How long he can hold out as party and government leader now also depends on how the LDP will deal with the losses internally.

According to media reports, the opposition, social democratic party of Constitutional Democracy (PKD) was able to increase its number from 109 seats. She had cooperated with the Japanese Communist Party, among others.

The election was considered a referendum

At the beginning of October, the former Foreign Minister Kishida was elected head of government after Yoshihide Suga’s withdrawal – afterwards he set the election date. Before his election, the 64-year-old had promised a fresh start and massive corona aid for the economy; in public, however, he stands for continuity and a continuation of the politics of his predecessors. The election was seen as a referendum over almost nine years of LDP rule under Kishida’s predecessors Suga and previously Shinzo Abe.

Long-time Prime Minister Abe, who leads the right-wing conservative wing of the LDP, which has ruled almost continuously for six decades, continues to exert strong influence. This seems to be met with increasing dissatisfaction among the population. However, many citizens see no real alternative to the LDP in the opposition; some critics also speak of a one-party state in the country.

At a distance from Abe

A total of 1,051 candidates across the country applied for the seats in parliament. In the past, votes against the LDP had been split between several opposition parties, but this time five rival parties cooperated.

Before his election as head of government, Kishida had promised a “new capitalism” that is supposed to narrow the widening gap between rich and poor. In doing so, he distanced himself from economic-political neoliberalism under Abe and dug the opposition with his call for economic redistribution. In the internal party struggle for the LDP chairmanship, he prevailed against the reformist and popular ex-foreign minister Taro Kono.

Parliamentary elections in Japan: ruling party wins

Kathrin Erdmann, ARD Tokyo, October 31, 2021 1:12 p.m.

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