October 23, 2017
TOKYO- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, Komeito, scored a landslide victory in the crucial general election on Sunday, helping him to consolidate his grip on power nearly five years after returning to power.
In the closely watched election, the LDP and Komeito won at least 311 seats in the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of parliament, clearing the two-thirds majority needed for putting any constitutional revision to a national referendum.
Any proposal to revise the post-World War II constitution needs to be approved by at least two-thirds of members in both chambers of parliament before it is put to a national referendum. More than two-thirds of members in the House of Councillors, the upper chamber, are in favor of amendment.
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, a center-left party set up recently by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano and like-minded liberal defectors from the splintering Democratic Party, gained traction, more than tripling the number of its seats to at least 54. Headed by Edano, the new party emerged as the largest opposition party in the Lower House.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike's conservative Party of Hope, which was created soon before the election and also took in DP defectors, is unlikely to maintain its pre-election strength of 57 seats.
Ballot counting for the Lower House election has been delayed at least until Monday in some areas of eight prefectures due to bad weather brought about by the approach of a powerful typhoon.
In the first Lower House election since December 2014, the biggest issue was how voters would evaluate the performance of the Abe administration over the past nearly five years. Jiji Press
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