Polling stations opened for assembly elections in Japan on Sunday, October 31, with about 106 million voters invited to decide on 1,051 candidates for 465 seats in the lower house of the Diet.
The new Prime Minister is Fumio Kishida It dissolved the House of Representatives on October 14, Hopes to retain his post. In the previous legislature, the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD, Nationalist Right) dominated the Japanese political scene for nearly sixty-six years, capturing 276 seats, and its ally the Komeito Party (center right), 29 or 305 seats. Total. Their coalition had a solid parliamentary base, allowing it to control all the levers of power.
But the situation has changed a lot compared to the last legislative elections in 2017. Shinzo Abe, who appeared to be a stainless prime minister, resigned in September 2020 For health reasons. His successor Yoshihit Suka lasted only a year, Was plagued by unpopular records as his administration considered the health crisis and his desire to maintain the Olympics in Tokyo this year at any cost a strain.
Seventeen day campaign
He was elected chairman of the PLD at the end of September, thanks to the support of the party’s coins, Then appointed Prime Minister by Parliament in early October, Mr. Kishida, 64, is not very popular in public. At the beginning of October it was 50%, one of the lowest for a new Japanese leader in twenty years.
At the end of a seventeen-day campaign dominated by themes surrounding epidemics and the economy, Mr. Kishida is targeting a very narrow majority: 233 seats for PLD and Komeito. A way to save face even if you lose significant space.
“We need to show the public that the PLD has been resurrected.”After being elected as the leader of the party, Mr. Started Kishida. He promised to make the fight against Govt-19 his priority, revive the economy and reduce growing social inequalities. However, he was unclear about the steps to achieve this.
PLD has long benefited from historically weak and fragmented resistance. But for these assembly elections, the five opposition parties will cooperate in several constituencies, which could theoretically weaken. “Mr. Kishida faces dizziness due to low popularity and high concerted opposition.”, Moody’s Analytics economist Stephen Angrick summarizes.
An eye on participation
PLD, on the other hand, has vast resources and is well versed in the art of controlling the electoral process, especially in rural areas. “There are personal connections between the families of his candidates and the voters, many generations ago.”, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Mr. Recalls Cucek, professor of Asian studies at Temple University.
Mr. Another asset for Kishida and her party: The number of Govt-19 infections in Japan has dropped (an average of 270 new cases daily in the last seven days), reaching record highs in August under the influence of delta variation.
After a tough start to the year, the vaccination campaign on the archipelago turned out to be successful: more than 71% of the population now has two injections, one of the highest rates in the Economic Cooperation countries. – Operation and Development (OECD).
The lowest turnout in Japan in particular (53.68% in the 2017 Assembly elections and 52.66% in 2014) will be examined on Sunday. Higher turnout has traditionally been in favor of PLD. Polling stations will close at 8pm (afternoon in Paris).