TOKYO — Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kimio s ruling Liberal Democratic Party held strong majority in Sunday’s election. This defied all expectations, solidifying his position within a fractured party and allowing him the opportunity to increase stimulus.
The conservative LDP emerged with fewer seats in the powerful lower house than it won in the last election in 2017. The LDP retained its single-party majority in a huge victory for Kishida , who took office only one month ago .
The result was not in line with expectations. Initial exit polls suggested that the LDP, which was hurt by the perceptions it mishandled coronavirus pandemic ,, would have to rely upon its junior coalition party for a majority.
Kishida is a former banker and soft-spoken who has struggled with his charisma. He will likely be encouraged by the win.
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Kishida, who called the election soon after taking the top post, has hewed to traditional policies of the party’s right wing, pushing to increase military spending. However, he also promised to address wealth inequality and proclaimed a “new capitalism” which has raised concerns among investors.
In the end, the LDP claimed 261 seats against the 276 it held before the election — an absolute stable majority that will give it control of parliamentary committees and ease passage of legislation, including key budget proposals.
Kishida’s publicly stated goal had been for the coalition to keep a majority, at least 233 seats, of the 465 in the lower house — although that was widely seen as a lowball target, given the junior coalition partner Komeito had 29 seats before the election. Together the LDP and Komeito secured 293 seats.
” The overall trend favors stability. Tobias Harris, senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, stated that the LDP had cleared all hurdles.
” We’ll see lots of stimulus,” he stated.
Japanese stocks were cheered by the victory, with Nikkei up 2 38 percent soon after trade began.
A poorer showing would have heightened expectations that Kishida could follow predecessor Yoshihide Suga in becoming another short-term premier.