Home Japanese values Japan’s ruling LDP wins absolute majority in general election – the Diplomat

Japan’s ruling LDP wins absolute majority in general election – the Diplomat

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Japanese Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Kishida Fumio, places rosettes of the names of candidates elected in the general election on a board at the party’s headquarters in Tokyo on October 31, 2021.

Credit: Behrouz Mehri / Pool Photo via AP

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) retained its absolute majority in the Diet after Sunday’s lower house elections. With 465 seats up for grabs, the PLD and junior coalition partner Komeito won a total of 293 seats, far exceeding the threshold of 244 seats needed for a stable majority, allowing the PLD to dominate every standing committee in the House. representatives.

Early polls suggested the PLD would lose seats from the pre-election level of 305, but retain a simple majority.

On Monday, Prime Minister and PLD leader Kishida Fumio held a press conference to thank the public for placing their trust in him. Kishida now has a mandate to put in place a stimulus package worth “tens of billions of yen” to help revive the Japanese economy stricken by the pandemic.

The election was seen as a test for Kishida, who won the LDP leadership race in September. There were concerns about the popularity of Kishida’s new cabinet with voters, given its reputation as a “status quo” politician. The LDP came under heavy criticism for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the deadly fifth wave during the Tokyo Olympics, which led to the resignation of Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide in September.

While voter turnout is generally low in Japan, it has reached 55% this year, more than in the previous election four years ago, showing increased interest in the race.

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Japan’s main opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), had hoped to win additional seats through a coalition of five opposition parties, including the Communist Party of Japan. Instead, the CDP suffered a significant loss, falling short of the 110 seats it held before the elections. The party had planned to secure an additional 40 seats, but won only 96 seats in total. Their attempt to unify the opposition bloc by fielding a single candidate in 217 constituencies did not gain the support of the voters they hoped for.

A significant number of critical PLD voters turned to the Japan Innovation Party (Nippon Ishin no Kai), whose total number of seats unexpectedly quadrupled from 11 to 41. The PIJ is now the third largest political party in Japan’s lower house, after the LDP and CDP. The party, headquartered in Osaka, has not joined the opposition bloc. Instead, the PIJ presented itself as a libertarian “third force”, which would have attracted swing voters.

The major defeat of the CDP is due to a drop in the votes received in the proportional representation system, where voters choose their preferred party rather than voting for a particular candidate. In contrast, the PIJ won a seat in all PR blocks except Hokkaido.

The CDP’s goal of weakening the dominance of the LDP, which has been in power almost continuously since the 1950s, through ideological values ​​and political sweeteners has fallen flat. The CDP’s call on voters with tax hikes on big business and the wealthy and a temporary halt in income tax for low incomes appears to have had limited impact.

Meanwhile, the CDP’s electoral strategy to unify candidates with the Japanese Communist Party may have backfired. A Yomiuri Shimbun exit poll found that 82 percent of Japanese Communist Party supporters voted for the main opposition party CDP candidates, while only 46 percent of CDP supporters voted for the JCP candidates. This suggests reluctance towards the party’s new left alliance, even among CDP’s own supporters.

Of the 217 constituencies where the five opposition parties unified their candidates, the LDP-Komeito won 140 and the opposition won 61. Conversely, in the 76 constituencies without unified opposition candidates, the opposition no. ‘won only nine constituencies and the LDP won 61.

As a sign of the party’s poor performance, CDP leader Edano Yukio led a close race in his constituency in Saitama District 5, winning just 6,000 votes. CDP deputy leader Tsujimoto Kiyomi lost her seat in the lower house to a candidate from the Innovation Party of Japan. There have been calls for the CDP executive committee, including Edano, to step down in response to the defeat.

The LDP has also lost top candidates. Secretary General Nikai Toshihiro, a close ally of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, lost his seat to CDP newcomer Futori Hideshi, 44. Former LDP secretary general Ishihara Nobuteru lost his seat in a district of Tokyo to CDP candidate Yoshida Harumi.

Only 45 women were elected to Japan’s lower house, accounting for just 9.7% of the 465 seats. The government’s goal of having women representing 35% of the election candidates by 2025 seems increasingly unlikely.


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