Shinzo Abe's party on course to increase upper house majority after former PM's assassination

Source: : 2022-07-10 18:29:00 :

Japan’s ruling coalition appears to have increased its majority in the upper house, two days after the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Mr Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its conservative partner, Komeito, are on track to win between 69 and 83 of the 125 seats being contested in this election, according to an exit poll from state broadcaster NHK.

Previously, they had 69.

The House of Councillors, as it is known, has 248 members. Half its membership is up for election every three years.

Following Sunday’s election, it appears the coalition could have as many as 143 seats, giving it a working majority.

Current prime minister and LDP leader Fumio Kishida said it was “significant we were able to pull this together at a time violence was shaking the foundations of the election”.

The final day of campaigning, on Saturday, was held under heightened security.

Mr Abe, 67, was shot twice from behind while giving a speech at a campaign rally in the western city of Nara.

He bled to death after sustaining two deep neck wounds that damaged an artery.

It is the first assassination of a sitting or former Japanese premier since the 1930s.

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Shinzo Abe’s body arrives home

A regional police official has acknowledged there may have been security lapses that allowed Mr Abe’s attacker to get so close with what appeared to be a home-made gun.

“We can’t deny that there were problems with the security plan given how things ended,” Nara prefectorial police chief Tomoaki Onizuka said.

“I feel a grave sense of responsibility.”

Should the exit poll prove to be accurate, Mr Kishida will be able to work on policy goals such as his “new capitalism” economic policy.

The LDP party also wants to amend the US-drafted post-war pacifist constitution.

Mr Abe’s body has been returned to his home in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.

His wake and funeral are expected in the coming days.

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