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Abe reelected as PM after election victory

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-02 07:10

TOKYO - Leader of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party Shinzo Abe was reelected as the country's prime minister on Wednesday following the ruling party's sweeping victory in the Oct 22 lower house election.

Both houses of parliament convened on Wednesday for a special session following the election, which saw the ruling coalition sweep to victory.

Despite his overwhelming victory, Abe's popularity ratings are relatively low and most observers attribute his election success to a weak and fractured opposition.

Abe's continued tenure as the nation's leader was guaranteed by a majority vote in the lower house which he secured, with the lower chamber having final authority on the matter as decreed by Japan's Constitution.

As Abe's ruling coalition, which includes LDP's junior partner Komeito party, holds a majority in the upper house, the vote for Abe as prime minister in the upper chamber, which also went his way, was merely a formality.

Abe is set to reappoint all the members of the outgoing Cabinet, sources have said.

Before the special session, which will run through Dec 9, convened on Wednesday, Abe's Cabinet resigned en masse, with his fourth Cabinet since Abe retook the helm in 2012, to be sworn in at an attestation ceremony later at the Imperial Palace.

The LDP's overwhelming victory in the general election has raised the chances that Abe will run in the LDP leadership contest next September and upped Abe's chances of becoming the longest serving prime minister since World War II.

Abe will move to swiftly ensure that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso compile a budget plan at his first Cabinet meeting, party sources said.

The draft supplementary budget is likely to span provisions for child care services which are in dire shortage in Japan.

As part of Abe's campaign pledge and the LDP's fundamental party platform, Abe will henceforth push for parliamentary debate over the first amendment to Japan's Pacifist Constitution, with the Japanese leader wanting the charter to explicitly make reference to Japan's Self-Defense Forces.

Pro-reform forces in the Diet comprise the two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament necessary for an amendment to the Constitution to be formally proposed.

Thereafter, the political and publicly divisive issue will need the majority backing in a national referendum.

Xinhua - Afp

(China Daily 11/02/2017 page12)

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