Japan holds election in shadow of Shinzo Abe assassination

Japan holds election in shadow of Shinzo Abe assassination

The Japanese vote this Sunday in the by-elections to the Upper House of the National Parliament two days after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during an electoral act, an event which did not alter the conduct of the elections.

A woman walks past a wall with election posters. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The approximately 46,000 voting points distributed by the Japanese archipelago opened at 07:00 local time (22:00 GMT Saturday), and will close 13 hours later, when the first exit polls on the electoral result begin to be known.

During these elections, they are 125 of the 248 seats in the Upper House are at stake, one of the two that make up the Diet of Japan and in which ratify legislative initiatives or appointments of prime ministers previously approved by the most powerful lower house.

The PLD hopes to revalidate its vast majority

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) to which Abe belonged hopes to revalidate its large majority in this body, to cement the government led by Fumio Kishida at a time marked by the acceleration of inflation in the country. and by external security challenges crescent facing the archipelago.

the PLD currently has 110 seats in the Upper House, joined by 28 members of its coalition partner, the Komeito Buddhist party.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Kyodo News via AP

For the ruling alliance to maintain its broad parliamentary dominance must obtain at least 56 seats in the elections on Sunday.

Another key point will be whether the ruling coalition and other parties linked to Japan’s constitutional reform manage to maintain or expand their parliamentary representation to the two-thirds needed to carry out this controversial legislative initiative.

The PLD is the main promoter of the modification of the pacifist article of the Magna Carta Japan with a view to giving the country more powers in military matters, which they deem necessary before developments from North Korea, China or Russiaand which was one of Abe’s top political priorities.

Abe still held enormous influence in his party

The former prime minister, who ruled between late 2012 and September 2020, being the longest serving in the country’s history and still wielding huge influence in his party, died on Friday after being shot dead during a campaign rally with a homemade weapon by a former soldier arrested on the spot.

The police continues to investigate the motives of the alleged killeridentified as Tetsuya Yamagami, who confessed to authorities that he decided to attack Abe for his alleged ties to a religious organization that caused family problems for the suspect.

The The PLD and the opposition parties showed complete unity in condemning of the attack and when it comes to advancing the electoral campaign and the nomination at the polls this Sunday – yes, between reinforced security measures -, with a view to defending Japanese democracy and the right to vote of citizens.

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