Voting under way in General Election
Japan’s voters have gone to the polls today to elect the 475 members of the House of Representatives, 295 of which are elected from single seat constituencies FPTP and 180 are elected from 11 regional blocs under a party list system.
The election was called two years ahead of time by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 19th November despite having a large parliamentary majority. Polls suggest that around 63% of voters failed to understand why an election was being called.
The Prime Minister’s centre-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and coalition partner is expected to win between 300 and 317 seats according to opinion polls, although turnout is expected to be low and could lead to some surprises. The LDP is on around 38.1% of the vote according to the latest polls.
The LDP’s coalition partner, the centre-right New Komeito (NKP) has around 5.9% support.
The main opposition centrist Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is on 11.7% of the vote.
In the 2012 general election the LDP won 294 seats, an increase of 176 seats and New Kōmeitō won 31 seats an increase of ten seats.
The DPJ dropped 173 seats to win just 57 seats whilst the right-wing Japan Restoration Party (JRP) won 54 seats, an increase of 43 seats. Six other parties won representation.
Around 60 million registered voters started voting at 7 a.m. across 48,000 polling stations and will choose from 1,191 candidates before polls close at 8 p.m.