Tokyo heads to polls in election marked by Covid-19, Olympics

Tokyo, Jul 4 (EFE).- Tokyo voters head to the polls Sunday to elect the representatives of its metropolitan assembly, after a campaign marked by the response to the pandemic and the Olympic Games, which the capital will host in three weeks.

Some 11 million people are eligible vote to elect the 127 members of the regional representative chamber.

The Tomin First party founded by Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike is the majority force since the last elections of 2017 with 46 seats.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party aspires to snatch Tomin’s position along with its national government coalition partner, Komeito. The parties are currently second and third in the regional assembly with 25 and 23 seats respectively.

The themes central to the election campaign have been the fight against the pandemic and the celebration of the Tokyo Olympic Games, which is scheduled to begin on July 23.

Koike’s and Suga’s parties have collided in defining measures to stop the virus and adapt them to the sporting event, which will take place in a bubble format for all its foreign participants.

The governor defends the celebration of sports competitions without an audience in the stands as a measure to prevent contagion, while the national government is in favor of having a limited number of spectators.

The organizers of the Olympics plan to hold a new meeting next week with the Japanese authorities and the international Olympic and Paralympic committees to discuss whether to maintain the fixed limit of 10,000 people in the stadiums or to resort to holding closed events.

The elections are also seen as a thermometer of the strength of the parties facing the elections of the Lower House (parliament) that must be held before the beginning of October, when the current legislature will end, and in which Suga’s party will seek to revalidate its long dominance of national politics.

The 68-year-old governor of Tokyo also tried to compete at the state level with the creation of a party for the lower house elections held in 2017, but did not gain significant representation.

Koike was admitted to a Tokyo hospital on June 22 due to severe fatigue caused by overwork and was discharged on Wednesday after nine days, according to the metropolitan government. EFE


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