Japan’s conservative coalition government was set to increase its majority in the upper house of parliament in an election on Sunday (July 10), two days after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a dominant politician and power broker.
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving modern leader, was gunned down on Friday(July 8) during a speech in support of a local candidate in the western city of Nara, a killing the political establishment condemned as an attack on democracy itself.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), of which Abe was a senior figure, and its junior partner Komeito were on track to win between 69 and 83 of the 125 seats contested in the upper chamber, according to an exit poll by public broadcaster NHK.
The LDP was projected to win 59 to 69 of the upper house seats contested, according the exit poll, up from the 55 it held previously. Reaching 69 seats would give the LDP a majority on its own, a threshold considered a stretch before Abe’s killing.
Official results are expected on Monday.
Elections for parliament’s less powerful upper house are typically a referendum on the sitting government.
A change of government was not at stake, as that is determined by the lower house.