Japan ruling party wins 4 vacant seats, Kishida mum on early election

Tokyo, Apr 24 (EFE).- Japan’s ruling party has secured four out of five vacant seats after a by-election held last weekend, according to results published Monday, as the prime minister avoided speaking about possible early general elections.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, won two seats in Yamaguchi and one in Chiba for the Lower House, as well as one in Oita prefecture for the Upper House, but lost the fifth contested seat in Wakayama, the results showed.

“I regard the result as the encouragement given by the Japanese people for us to carry out several pending important policies. During this election campaign, I received many voices from the people and we will reflect them in future policies,” Kishida said in a Monday media statement.

The leader did not answer questions about possible advanced general elections.

The result of these elections, presumed to be anecdotal, drew interest as they could affect Kishida’s decision to dissolve the Lower House for an electoral advance at some point after the G7 leaders’ summit in May in Hiroshima, western Japan.

They also occur after an attack on Kishida earlier this month. A man threw a homemade pipe bomb toward the prime minister on Apr. 15 as he was preparing to give a speech at an electoral event.

Kishida was evacuated before the device went off and was unharmed, though one security staff member and one attendee suffered minor injuries.

Sunday’s polls coincided with the second round of local elections for mayors and members of municipal assemblies in which the party won several key locations earlier in the month, at a time Kishida’s popularity is rising.

The current four-year term in the lower house expires in October 2025, but Kishida is reportedly considering an advanced election with an eye to a favorable re-election that will also help him continue as leader of the party, whose internal elections will be in September 2024. EFE


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