Polls open in Japan election overshadowed by Shinzo Abe’s killing | Elections News

The ruling LDP is set for a strong election shown in upper house elections held two days after the assassination of the former prime minister.

Voters in Japan are casting their ballots in an upper house election overshadowed by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Assassination.

Sunday’s election could see the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) increase its majority.

Abe, Japan longest serving prime minister who still has a dominant presence in the LDP, was shot down Friday while giving a speech in support of a local candidate in the western city of Nara, a killing of the political establishment condemned as an attack. into democracy itself.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other politicians have insisted the shocking killing will not stop the democratic process.

“We must never allow violence to suppress speech in elections, which are the cornerstones of democracy,” he said.

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 strong current for the ruling bloc led by Kishida – an Abe supporter.

As a nation mournBoth the LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito could benefit from a wave of yes votes, political analysts say.

“The ruling LDP-Komeito alliance is poised 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.

Homeland Security

Polls opened at 7am on Sunday (2200 GMT on Saturday) and ended at 8pm (1100 GMT). Media said 15.3 percent of voters cast an absentee ballot first.

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.

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.

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