Japan’s ruling party set to receive surge of support after Abe assassination – National
Japanese voters went to the polls on Sunday for an upper house election in which the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) could enjoy strong support following the assassination of the former Prime Minister. Shinzo Abea leading statesman and party power broker.
Abe, Japanese The longest-serving modern leader was shot down Friday during a speech in support of a local candidate in the western city of Nara – a killing of the political establishment condemned as a attack on democracy itself.
Elections for seats in the less powerful upper house of parliament are often seen as a referendum on the sitting government, and the latest opinion polls have pointed to a possible currently strong for the ruling bloc led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, an Abe supporter.
As the country mourns, both the LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito could benefit from a wave of votes in favour, political analysts say.
“The ruling LDP-Komeito alliance is on track for a solid victory,” said James Brady of consulting firm Teneo. “A wave of yes votes could now increase the odds of victory.”
The election campaign was halted on Friday after Abe was killed, but politicians resumed pre-election activities on Saturday.
Police increased their presence as Kishida showed up at a campaign event in the southwestern city of Tokyo and a metal detection scanner was installed at the site – an unusual security measure in Japan. Copy.
Polls opened at 7am (2200 GMT on Saturday) and ended at 8pm (1100 GMT). Media reported that 15.3% of voters cast an absentee ballot first.
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A strong showing in the polls could help Kishida consolidate his power, giving the former Hiroshima-based banker an opportunity to realize his goal of increasing defense spending.
It could also allow him to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution – something even the hawkish Abe could never achieve.
“In the coming months, the government will certainly look to increase security in the country,” Brady said.
He added: “By weakening the public’s general sense of safety and order, this event could also give extra impetus to Abe’s main causes such as defense building and constitutional amendments. .
Polls last week showed the LDP won at least 60 of the 125 seats disputed on Sunday, compared with the 55 seats it currently holds, allowing it to maintain a majority in the room it holds. with Komeito.
Achieving 69 seats in the upper house would give the LDP a majority, a threshold already considered long before Abe was killed.
Kishida, once on the more moderate side of the LDP, has turned to the right and said parts of the constitution may contain elements that are “outdated and flawed”.
Opinion polls show a majority of voters in favor of greater military power.
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But even a strong performance by the LDP would be overshadowed by the death of Abe, who as leader of its largest faction still wields considerable power in policy decisions and personnel.
Analysts say his death raises the specter of a power vacuum and potential turmoil within the party.
Japan’s small, populist Renewal Party, which won seats in last year’s general election, could siphon votes from the LDP. But since the party also supports constitutional amendment, any progress it makes is likely to support the LDP’s reform goals.
(Reporting by Elaine Lies Edited by David Dolan, Helen Popper and Sandra Maler)