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2017 Lower House Election / LDP gaining momentum for single-party majority

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe ruling Liberal Democratic Party is taking the lead in both single-seat constituencies and the proportional representation segment of the Oct. 22 House of Representatives election, gaining momentum to win a single-party majority of 233 seats, according to Yomiuri Shimbun coverage and a nationwide survey conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kibo no To (Party of Hope), led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, is struggling to gain support from voters. It is expected to win slightly over 57 seats, the same number its candidates had held as Diet members before the official election campaign started.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is expected to do particularly well, and is likely to become the third-largest party behind the LDP and Kibo.

The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a survey of eligible voters across the nation, and also took into account coverage by its general bureaus and other sources nationwide.

Kibo struggling

It found that the LDP, which held 284 seats before the start of the campaign, is likely to reach an absolute majority of 261 seats. This will enable it to dominate standing committee chairman posts and secure a majority in all committees in the lower house.

In single-seat constituencies, more than 140 LDP candidates are in the lead against opposition candidates, and the LDP may dominate seats in Aomori, Toyama, Shimane, Yamaguchi and other prefectures.

In the proportional representation segment, the LDP is set to win about 60 seats. The LDP’s current momentum appears to be partly helped by the proliferation of opposition candidates.

As for Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, most of the nine candidates it fielded in single-seat constituencies are at the head of the pack, while the party is also securing robust support in the proportional representation segment. The LDP and Komeito are likely to secure 300 seats combined.

Kibo has fielded 198 candidates in single-seat constituencies, but only seven of them are in the lead at present. Most of the seven candidates are former lower house members of the Democratic Party who joined Kibo just after the dissolution of the lower house.

The party is struggling in Tokyo, Koike’s electoral power base, and is expected to secure less than 40 seats in the proportional representation races overall.

CDPJ likely to do well

The CDPJ has fielded candidates in 63 single-seat constituencies, and its candidates are in the lead in five of them. In the proportional representation segment, it is likely to win seats in all blocs.

The party is highly likely to win more than 40 seats in total, far exceeding the 15 its members had before the start of the election campaign. The party appears to be garnering support from voters critical of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

When it comes to Ishin no Kai, only one candidate is in the lead, in a constituency in Osaka Prefecture, the party’s home base. Even combined with the proportional representation segment, it will be difficult for the party to maintain the 14 seats it held before the start of the campaign.

The Japanese Communist Party, which fared well in the previous 2014 lower house election when it increased its number of seats by 13, is facing an uphill battle in the current election. It will likely fail to secure the 21 seats it had before the start of the campaign, as the CDPJ is favored by those who are antigovernment.

The Social Democratic Party has one candidate who is in the lead in a single-seat constituency, while the Party for Japanese Kokoro has a difficult battle ahead of it.

The opinion survey was conducted by telephone on 130,229 households with eligible voters, with responses from 78,285 people, or 60 percent.

About 30 percent of respondents did not name candidates or political parties in the single-seat race, and 20 percent did not do so for the proportional representation segment. Therefore, the landscape may change toward the final days of the campaign.Speech

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