Japan’s ruling PLD on the defensive ahead of parliamentary elections

The Nikkei and Yomiuri Shimbun dailies publish polls showing the PLD struggling to keep 233 of the 456 lower house seats.

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is facing a struggle to maintain its only majority in this weekend’s lower house elections, opinion polls on Friday showed, though the coalition government is likely stay safe.

Sunday’s elections are turning out to be tougher than expected for the PLD, whose image was mistreated by its perception of mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.

Losing his only majority in parliament’s most powerful lower house could weaken newly appointed prime minister Fumio Kishida and make him vulnerable to being replaced before next year’s upper house vote, some analysts say.

A former banker whose lackluster image and promises of a “new capitalism” have failed to inspire voters, Kishida has set the coalition’s goal for a 233-seat majority in the 465-seat lower house, well below the 276 seats. that the PLD had before. the lower house dissolved earlier this month.

Both the Nikkei and Yomiuri Shimbun dailies published polls on Friday showing that the PLD may be hard-pressed for 233 seats, although its junior coalition partner Komeito should help the coalition maintain an overall majority.

Japan’s main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party is likely to win some additional seats, said the Nikkei, which estimates that about 40 percent of races in single-seat districts will be fought closely.

Before the October 31 elections, the PLD lost to an independent candidate one of the two upper house by-elections that took place on Sunday, while its junior partner won the other seat, indicating a possible challenge. election for the ruling party.

Support for the Kishida government has fallen slightly despite the fact that he called elections a few weeks after taking office, which some analysts said could have been an attempt to take advantage of the “honeymoon” period of good support that often is awarded to a new leader.

About 47 percent of those polled said they supported the cabinet, while 32 percent said no, the Nikkei said.

A similar question early in the race had cabinet support at 46 percent and lack of support at 29 percent.

Kishida replaced Yoshihide Suga, who held the post for just a year before resigning amid widespread discontent over his handling of the pandemic and determination to hold the Olympics despite public opposition.


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