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Prime Minister Taro Aso calls election for 30 Aug

August 30, 2009 - JAPAN

Prime Minister Taro Aso has called a parliamentary election that could oust his governing Liberal Democratic Party after its more than five decades of almost uninterrupted rule. His approval ratings have fallen and his party's chances of losing the election have risen sharply. Aso's LDP and its junior coalition partner, New Komeito, hold a combined 334 of the 480 seats in the lower house of parliament. Whichever party wins will have to tackle the country's worst recession in 60 years.

Prime Minister Taro Aso has called a parliamentary election that could oust his governing Liberal Democratic Party after more than five decades of almost uninterrupted rule. His approval ratings have fallen and his party's chances of losing the election have risen sharply. Aso's LDP and its junior coalition partner, the New Komeito, hold a combined 334 of the 480 seats in the lower house of parliament. Whichever party wins will have to tackle the country's worst recession in 60 years. The LDF fared poorly in July in Tokyo local assembly elections. The main opposition Democratic Party appears set to either win a majority to govern on its own or in coalition with allies. It is feared that neither the LDP nor its opposition will gain a big-enough majority to break the policy stalemate that has prevented real action to deal with the recession. The opposition controls the upper house of parliament. According to Reuters, the opposition Democratic Party has vowed to pay more heed to the rights of consumers and workers than companies, keep the sales tax at 5 per cent for the next four years, and wrest control of policy-making from bureaucrats as a way to cut waste. There will be an election for the upper house of parliament in 2010. Jul/09

Possible result and implications of Japan's election (Reuters 13 Jul 2009)

Date written/update: 2009-08-30