Japan votes for parliamentary vacancies amid early election rumors

Tokyo, Apr 23 (EFE).- Polling stations opened Sunday in Japan for voting on five parliamentary vacancies, amid rumors of a possible early general election after the attack on the prime minister a week ago.

The result of these elections, which were presumed to be anecdotal, has aroused interest as it is considered it could affect the decision of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to dissolve the Lower House for an electoral advance at some point after the leaders summit in May G7 in Hiroshima, western Japan.

A man threw a homemade pipe bomb in front of the prime minister on Apr. 15 when he was about to give a speech at an electoral event. Kishida was evacuated before the device went off and was unharmed, although one security staff member and one of the attendees suffered minor injuries.

Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) hopes to retain the three seats it held before these elections amid rising support rates for the government for its diplomatic achievements, including the prime minister’s surprise visit in March to Ukraine.

It is expected that today’s elections will also serve to see if the public is favorable to the policies adopted by the executive to reduce the impact of the price rise and its plans to increase defense spending and implement measures to reverse the fall in the birth rate. This is amid speculation about possible tax increases to finance them.

Of the five seats at stake, four are for the Lower House and one for the Upper House.

Today’s polls take place on the same day as the second round of local elections for mayors and members of municipal assemblies in which the PLD won several key locations earlier this month. It is at a time when Kishida’s popularity is rising, which has generated rumors about an upcoming electoral advancement.

The current four-year term in the lower house expires in October 2025, but Kishida has reportedly been considering an advance with an eye to a favorable re-election that will help him also be re-elected as leader of the PLD, whose internal presidential elections will take place in September 2024. EFE


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