Japan begins voting in elections marked by Abe murder

Tokyo, Jul 10 (EFE).- Japanese people began voting Sunday in the partial elections to the parliament Upper House, two days after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a campaign event.

The approximately 46,000 voting points spread countrywide opened at 7 am local time (22:00 GMT on Saturday), and will close at 8 pm, when the first exit polls on the result will emerge.

In these elections, 125 of the 248 Upper House seats are at stake, one of the two that make up the Japanese Diet and in which legislative initiatives or the appointments of prime ministers previously approved by the most powerful Lower House are ratified.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party to which Abe belonged hopes to revalidate its large majority and cement Fumio Kishida’s government at a time marked by the acceleration of inflation and growing external security challenges facing the country.

The party currently has 110 seats in the upper house, in addition to 28 from its coalition partner, the Buddhist Komeito party.

For the ruling alliance to maintain its broad parliamentary dominance, they must win at least 56 seats in Sunday’s election.

A key point will be whether the coalition in power and other parties related to the Japanese Constitutional reform maintain or extend their two-thirds parliamentary representation, necessary to carry out this controversial legislative initiative.

The liberals are the main promoters of the modification of the constitution’s pacifist article with a view to providing the country with more powers in military matters, something they consider necessary in view of the developments in North Korea, China or Russia. These were Abe’s big political priorities during his tenure in power.

The former prime minister, who governed between 2012 and 2020 and is the country’s longest serving head of government, still held enormous influence in his party. He died Friday after being shot during a campaign rally with a homemade weapon by an ex-military man who was arrested on the spot.

Police continue to investigate the motives of the alleged assassin, identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, who confessed to authorities that he decided to attack Abe for his alleged link to a religious organization that had caused family problems for the suspect.

The liberals and the opposition parties united in condemning the attack and moving forward with the electoral campaign and amid reinforced security measures look to defend Japanese democracy and citizens’ right to vote. EFE


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