Suga’s party suffers defeat in parliamentary elections

Tokyo, Apr 26 (efe-epa).- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s party has suffered a painful defeat in the first parliamentary elections held during his term, in which it failed to win any of the three seats up for grabs.

The elections held in Hiroshima, Nagano and Hokkaido on Sunday were the first since Suga became head of government and were the first glimpse into public assessment of his management so far.

The candidates backed by the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) won all three seats in a result also considered a barometer for the general election to be held towards the end of the year, and which mark a severe blow for Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

The four-year term of the Lower House ends on Oct. 21 and Suga’s term ends on Sep. 30.

“Voters passed a severe judgment on the Suga Cabinet,” said CDPJ secretary general Tetsuro Fukuyama, according to Kyodo news.

“It is the result of a buildup of people’s discontent over scandals involving politics and money and the novel coronavirus response.”

Elections in Hiroshima and Hokkaido were called after seats were vacated by the resignation of two LDP lawmakers, former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife Anri, over a vote-buying scandal.

The LDP’s election campaign manager, Taimei Yamaguchi, said from the party headquarters that they will “reflect seriously on the voters’ judgment.”

The approval rating for Suga’s Cabinet stood at around 70 percent after he succeeded Shinzo Abe – who resigned due to health problems – in September 2020. But in February it fell below 40 percent where it has largely remained, mainly due to discontent over the management of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Analysts consider this defeat in the local elections as a blow for Suga and his role as the head of the party. EFE-EPA


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