Suga’s party gains in Tokyo election, seen as test before general polls

Tokyo, Jul 5 (EFE).- The ruling coalition in Japan gained ground in the Tokyo regional elections on Sunday but did not obtain a majority, an unfavorable sign for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga ahead of the general elections scheduled in autumn.

Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won 33 of the 127 seats in the metropolitan assembly, compared to the 25 it had secured in the previous elections, displacing Tomin First (Tokyo Citizens First), the party of Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, as the most voted party, according to results released on Monday.

The number of seats held by Koike’s party went from 46 to 31.

The LDP’s coalition partner, the Buddhist Komeito, retained its 23 seats while the main opposition party in parliament, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), jumped from 7 to 15 seats, and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) added one seat to reach a total of 19, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Both the gains made by the ruling coalition and the losses posted by Tomin First fell short of analysts’ expectations in a regional election dominated by the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Olympic Games, whose opening ceremony is less than three weeks away.

Some experts attributed these results to voter dissatisfaction with the Suga administration’s handling of the epidemic and its stance on the holding of the international sporting event amid rising new infections in Tokyo and vaccine supply problems in the country.

While the LDP has advocated holding a “bubble” event with limited spectators, Tomin First had called for the Games to be held without fans in the stands.

The JCP had demanded that the Olympics be cancelled and the CDP had asked that they be postponed again or cancelled while criticizing the government’s response to Covid-19.

Some analysts believe the results of the Tokyo elections could take a toll on Suga ahead of the parliamentary lower house elections that must be held before early October, when the current legislature will end, and in which the LDP will seek to confirm its long dominance of national politics.

Voter turnout in the Tokyo elections, in which some 11 million people were eligible to vote, was 42.39 percent, compared to 51.28 percent in the previous polls in 2017, and the lowest since the 40.80 percent registered in the 1997 elections.

The number of women elected to Tokyo’s assembly increased by one to a new record of 38. EFE


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