Japan PM Shinzo Abe calls snap election, to dissolve parliament Thursday

Sep 26, 2017, 00:47
Japan PM Shinzo Abe calls snap election, to dissolve parliament Thursday

However, the snap election call has led to a realignment in opposition, with Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike claiming she will run as leader of the new "Party of Hope" in the election.

Abe will dissolve the House of Representatives on September 28.

"It is going to be a very, very hard election for us".

"I want the Japanese people to believe that there is hope for tomorrow", she said at a televised press conference.

The general election is expected to be held on October 22, with official campaigning starting on October 10. If Abe's Liberal Democratic Party maintains its majority in the Diet, he could serve as prime minister until 2021. At present, the ruling LDP-Komeito coalition holds two thirds of the lower house, 316 seats. His current term was set to end in December 2018.

"Achieving a primary budget balancing by fiscal 2020 has become impossible", Abe told public broadcaster NHK after announcing a snap election for next month and vowing to divert money from a promised sales-tax hike, meant to repay government debt, to programs like education.

Kyoko Nakayama, leader of the small opposition Party for Japanese Kokoro, also met Koike the same day and expressed an intention to join the planned new party, a source close to the matter said.

Despite a recent run of growth, the election victor will also have to contend with a sluggish economy, as the heavily indebted country grapples with a low birth rate and a shrinking labour force. It said 42.2 percent of the voters still remain undecided about the elections.

Support for Abe's party has since rebounded, helped somewhat by a Cabinet reshuffle last month. "We shouldn't get too relaxed". Ishiba also emphasized that Abe should avoid campaigning on ideas that haven't been approved by the party.

"Party democracy can not be skipped over", he said.

25 called an election a year ahead of schedule, saying that Japan was facing a "national crisis" that must be dealt with now. Meanwhile, it was "supported around ¥112" by firm stock prices, said an official at a foreign exchange brokerage house.

Abe may already be getting ready to leave next year whatever happens in the election due to the scandals hanging over him, according to Steven Reed, professor of political science at Chuo University.

"Abe is aware of the fact that the people do not consider the revision of the constitution a priority issue", Nakano said. "If he gets his constitutional reform through, he can go home happy".

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