New Delhi: Shinzo Abe is all set to sweep the general election on Sunday according to media polls. Polls indicate that Abe’s ruling coalition will retain its two-thirds majority in the more powerful lower house of parliament.
Analysts were predicting that Abe will find it hard to convince the voters this time but it appears that they will stick with him as the opposition has no track record. Uncertainty over North Korea and its growing missile and nuclear arsenal threat is another reason for voters to support Abe’s conservative approach towards this issue.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had officially announced his intention to dissolve the lower house for a snap election in September to seek a fresh mandate to overcome “a national crisis”.
Abe’s campaign is centered on education and constitutional amendment. The prime minister intends to partially reassign the revenue gained from a consumption tax hike in October 2019 from paying off government debt to providing free education, while also adding language recognizing Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to the constitution.
The decision was largely seen as aimed at taking advantage of Abe’s recently improved support ratings and opposition disarray.
The LDP is portraying itself as the sole protector of Japan from North Korea and other geopolitical threats in the region. Abe wants to revise the pacifist parts of Japan’s constitution that bar Japan’s armed forces from engaging in offensive operations. However, it’s a deeply divisive issue among the electorate.
Under Abe, the Japanese economy has registered significant growth, jobs are plenty and the stock market recently hit a 21-year high. “Abenomics” is working for the country and the LDP has aggressively highlighted this achievement in their campaign.
There are 465 seats in the lower house, or House of Representatives, so both the parties will need to win over half the seats, or 233, to form a government. The LDP, in alliance with the small, Buddhist-linked Komeito, now have over two-thirds of the seats.
Early voting has already begun because a typhoon is expected to hit Japan which may lead to low voter turnout. Official results are unlikely before early Monday.