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Japan set for historic elections

world Updated: Aug 28, 2009 00:41 IST
Shino Yuasa
Shino Yuasa
Hindustan Times
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Japan’s main opposition party is set to secure a landslide victory against Prime Minister Taro Aso’s ruling party by winning a two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament in elections this weekend, a poll projected on Thursday.

The Democratic Party of Japan will likely win 320 of the 480 seats in the powerful lower house being contested in Sunday’s elections, according to the Asahi, a major newspaper.

The party, headed by Yukio Hatoyama, had 112 seats in the lower house before parliament was dissolved in July.

Aso’s Liberal Democratic Party, which held 300 seats before the elections, is now set for a crushing defeat. The Asahi poll said it is likely to win just 100 seats.

The Asahi said it randomly polled 190,338 eligible voters by telephone from August 22 to 25. It did not provide a margin of error, but a poll of that size would normally have a margin of error of less than one percentage point.

Other recent polls have also projected that the opposition party would win more than 300 seats.

An opposition victory would allow the Democratic Party to unseat the Liberal Democrats, who have governed Japan since 1955 with the exception of one period of less than a year in 1993-1994.

Hatoyama would likely become prime minister if his party wins control of the lower house.

Aso’s party has watched its support plummet because of the fragile economy, increasing unemployment, a perceived lack of leadership and its support of higher taxes.

Aso, who is party president, is widely seen as a weak leader, with recent polls showing his support rating at less than 20 per cent.

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