Japan's ruling LDP-Komeito coalition wins landslide victory in election – Xinhua

TOKYO, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner the Komeito Party won 325 seats, a more than two-thirds majority, in Sunday’s election for the 475- seat lower house, final results of vote counting showed early Monday.

The LDP alone secured 290 seats, while Komeito garnered 35 seats.

An overwhelming majority in the powerful chamber means the ruling bloc could approve bills rejected by the upper house and the dominant majority in the lower house also makes it possible to propose amending the country’s pacifist constitution.

“The LDP and Komeito have reached our goal of securing at least a combined majority,” Abe said on a TV program after learning his coalition had secured the requisite number of seats in the election.

Together with our coalition ally “we will implement what we promised in our election campaigning,” Abe said, adding that he would now try to seek the public’s understanding of his plans to amend the constitution.

“To amend the constitution has been our party’s long-cherished wish since its establishment,” Abe said. “We will emphasize the need to amend the constitution and make efforts to see growing public debate on the issue.”

The opposition the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won 73 seats, an 11-seat increase from the 2012 election. However, its party leader Banri Kaieda lost his seat in the chamber and is expected to quit on Monday, according to local report.

DPJ Secretary General Yukio Edano said the snap election came at a time when the party is trying to reconstruct itself after being defeated two years ago.

“There were high expectations for us that we could collect more votes from voters dissatisfied with the ruling bloc. I do felt we are not able to do enough to express our policy,” he said.

“We have not been able to become a choice that is trusted by the public. Taking a hard look at that fact, we have to think how we should move on,” Edano said.

Another main opposition party, the Japan Innovation Party secured 39 seats, while the Japan Communist Party saw a big jump in its seats to 21, compared to eight before the election.

The Future Generation Party, People’s Life First Party and the Social Democratic Party won two seats respectively, and individual candidates gained nine seats.

Voter turnout in the election is projected to drop to a record low of 52.38 percent, according to a Kyodo News tally.

The turnout calculated as of 1 a.m. Monday (1600 GMT Sunday) was down about 7 percentage points from 59.32 percent, the lowest postwar record logged in the previous lower house election in 2012, said Kyodo.

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