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Polls open in Japan to elect new parliament

world Updated: Aug 30, 2009 10:17 IST

Polls for electing a new House of Representatives opened across Japan on Sunday.

Election results could start coming in after voting for the House of Representatives ends at 8 p.m. (1100 GMT). A newspaper survey predicted a record turnout of around 70 per cent for the first House election in five years.

Based on pre-election opinion surveys, the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was expected to secure an overwhelming majority, capturing more than 300 seats in the 480-seat lower chamber, while putting an end to more than 50 years of reign by

Prime Minister Taro Aso's Liberal Democratic Party.

If the DPJ wins, party chief Yukio Hatoyama would be highly likely to become the next prime minister.

The DJP vowed to cut wasteful spending and revitalize the world's second-largest economy by increasing household incomes and encouraging spending, but remains hazy on how it would fulfill its promises.

The embattled LDP, whose close ties with Japan's powerful bureaucracy stymied reforms for years, pledged to push economic measures with a record stimulus package and revive Japan's economy in the next two years to achieve 2-per cent growth in the second half of fiscal 2010.