Japan Election: Ruling coalition wins larger majority

The Liberal Democratic Party and its junior ruling coalition partner Komeito won a landslide victory in Sunday's House of Representatives election, grabbing more than two-thirds of the total seats in the lower house.

The LDP won 290 seats while Komeito grabbed 35. The Democratic Party of Japan took 73, increasing from 62 seats before the Diet dissolution, while the Japan Innovation Party won 41. Meanwhile, the Party for Future Generations won two seats, losing significantly from 20 seats. The Japanese Communist Party took 21, boosting the number of its seats substantially from eight previously.

The absolute majority allows the ruling bloc to chair all lower house standing committees and hold a majority in all the committees.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also LDP president, called the early election, seeking a fresh mandate for his administration's performance after two years in office. Abe is expected to carry on his "Abenomics" economic policies after launching his third administration.

Voter turnout was expected to be about 52 per cent, according to a Yomiuri estimate. The figure hit a historic low since the end of World War II, breaking the previous record of 59.32 per cent marked for the single-seat constituency race in the 2012 lower house election.

Abe, LDP Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki and other key party executives were reelected easily.

Abe asked for voters' verdict on his decision to delay an additional increase in the consumption tax rate to 10 per cent, initially scheduled to be carried out in October next year, for 1½ years, as well as on Abenomics. Keeping the majority of seats in the lower house would be regarded as the public nod to the ruling coalition to implement the economic measures further. In next year's ordinary Diet session, the ruling coalition is expected to push for legal arrangements that would allow the nation to exercise the right of collective self-defence.

3rd Cabinet expected on Dec 24

Abe, who returned to power in 2012, is certain to launch his third Cabinet shortly after winning the Diet nomination for prime minister during a special Diet session, which will be convened as early as Dec. 24.

The government and ruling parties likely will draw up measures against sluggish consumption and the rapidly weakening of the yen by the year-end. During an ordinary Diet session scheduled to begin in January, they are likely to submit to the Diet a fiscal 2014 supplementary budget and an initial budget for the next fiscal year, both of which include funds for the economic measures.

Abe's term as LDP president expires in late September next year. If he gets through the ordinary Diet session, he would have higher chances to secure another term. Unless the lower house is dissolved, no national election will be held until a House of Councillors poll due in the summer of 2016.

Following the 12-day official campaigning, 1,191 candidates vied for 475 seats, which consist of 295 for single-seat constituencies and 180 for proportional representation districts. The number of single-seat constituency slots was reduced by five to rectify vote-value disparities.Speech

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