Japan's Prime Minister Kakusi Tanaka has won re-election, but voters yesterday (Sunday) returned his Liberal-Democratic Party with a reduced majority.
Japan's Prime Minister Kakusi Tanaka has won re-election, but voters yesterday (Sunday) returned his Liberal-Democratic Party with a reduced majority. The election, the first Prime Minister Tanaka has contested as party leader since his taking office in July, was reported to be a test of his "Grand Design" policies for social and economic reform.
At the end of counting the Liberal Democrats had won 271 seats in the Lower House, 26 down on their old majority. There was a large swing to the left with the Socialists winning 118 seats, and Sanzo Nesaka's Communist Party more than doubling its strength to 38 seats.
Observers said the results would give the Communist Party a say in the running of Parliament, and allow the party to introduce non-budgetary bills. Observers also said the voters had decided the two left-wing parties would be effective anti-government force. In the past, the two previous opposition parties, the Komeito (clean government) and the Democratic Socialists, had often gone along with Government policy.
SYNOPSIS: More than seventy per cent of the Japanese population voted in Sunday's general election. There was heavy polling in the rural area which has always been a Liberal-Democrat stronghold.
Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, who cast his vote early in the day, was contesting his first election since he gained leadership of the Liberal-Democrats five months ago. The election was a test of his "Grand Design" policies, for social and economic reform.
Mrs. Tanaka, the Prime Minister's wife, was also among early voters.
Initial figures showed that the Communist Party, led by Sanzo Nosaka, would increase its strength in the Lower House. In fact, it became one of the two main opposition parties. Under Parliamentary laws, the Communist Party will now be permitted to introduce non-budgetary legislation.
When voting ended, the nation's interest turned to television, on which millions of Japanese watched the counting. With all figures in, the Liberal-Democrats won two-hundred and seventy-one seats - twenty-six down on its old majority. The Socialists won a hundred and eighteen seats, a gain of thirty-one seats.