Abe’s party revalidates its majority in the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament two days after the assassination | International
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A Japan shocked by the assassination on Friday of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revalidated this Sunday at the polls the majority in the upper house of its political formation, the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD), according to the first electoral projections. According to the state chain NHK, considered the reference medium in electoral data, the PLD will obtain at least 60 seats, while its coalition partner, the Buddhist formation Komeito, will obtain a minimum of 11. Added to the parliamentary seats Of those that these two parties already have and that have not been renewed in these partial elections, the current government coalition has its majority assured, provided that the official results, which will be known this Monday, confirm the projections.
In these elections, 125 of the 248 seats in the Upper House were at stake, one of the two that make up the Japanese Parliament and in which the laws or the appointment of the prime minister previously approved by the lower house are ratified, which concentrates the bulk of parliamentary power. If the projections are confirmed, Abe’s party and its government partners thus expand the possibilities of obtaining a parliamentary majority of more than two thirds of the seats —with the support of other smaller formations— to carry out a reform of the pacifist Constitution of the country, which would give way to the rearmament of the country and the participation of its Self-Defense Forces (army) in international conflicts, now prohibited. These two objectives were at the center of the ideology and political action of the assassinated Prime Minister Abe.
This Sunday’s elections were also a test of confidence for the current head of government, Fumio Kishida, Abe’s protégé who came to power nine months ago and is considered a moderate within the PLD. This formation is an alliance of conservative factions that has controlled power in Japan almost continuously since its founding in 1955. Victory in the upper house will allow it to govern without calling national elections until 2025.
When the counting of the votes had not yet been completed, Kishida thanked this Sunday afternoon, in statements to NHK, for the “great support” that his formation is receiving from the citizens and promised that he will take into account the criticism he has received. your government. Although akin to the ideology of Abe, famous for his policy of massive monetary relaxation, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms, Kishida promotes a redistributive policy called “new capitalism” whose objective is to strengthen the middle class.
A country in shock
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In one of the countries with the lowest homicide rates in the world – 0.28 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, according to UN data from 2018 – and whose legislation provides for strict control of the possession of weapons, Abe’s assassination has caused a commotion that was felt on election day. On Saturday, the last day of the campaign, many of the PLD candidates could not contain their tears when evoking his memory in different electoral acts.
Many candidates appeared on Saturday, the day after the assassination, surrounded by police and avoided approaching to shake hands with voters, in an unusual picture in Japan, as unusual is the assassination of Abe, perpetrated in a public place, a square, when the former prime minister was addressing, in an impromptu campaign rally, a group of people in Nara, some 500 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. After the assassination, Prime Minister Kishida reaffirmed the importance of continuing with these elections despite the attack, with a view to “defending democracy” and “rejecting violence”, a message joined by the leaders of other parties.
In a polling station installed in the primary school in the Tokyo neighborhood of Tomigaya, Shigeo Kimbara, a company employee in his 30s, explained to this newspaper that he had never seen such an influx of voters, despite the fact that he always goes to vote with his wife. by the end of the afternoon. “Without a doubt a lot of people came to vote out of sympathy for Abe. But I think his death is not going to have a big effect on Japanese politics, which moves by consensus,” he said. The elections have registered a participation of 52%, almost three percentage points more with respect to the same elections, in 2019.
In the exact place where Abe was shot dead by a rudimentary weapon, the north exit of Yamato Saidaiji station in Nara, the former Japanese capital, the influx of hundreds of people who came to leave flowers in his memory continued for on election day, despite the long queues that formed before the altar with his image installed by his political formation. Dozens of citizens gathered in turn in front of Abe’s home in the Tokyo district of Shibuya to pay tribute to the former head of the Japanese Government, while Prime Minister Kishida and other members of the PLD observed a minute of silence in his memory after the closing of the electoral colleges.
The former prime minister’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday. Another wake in his memory, which will only be attended by those close to him, will be held at the Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo. On Saturday, the Japanese prosecutor’s office announced that it has already begun to investigate Tetsuya Yamagami, the man who, according to witnesses and images of the assassination, shot Abe. The motivations of this suspect, arrested moments after the attack, have not transpired.
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