Abe’s call for snap elections could pay off: media polls

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/10/12 23:03:39

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's snap election gamble looked like paying off after media forecasts showed his ruling bloc heading for a surprisingly big win, possibly enough to re-energize his push to revise Japan's post-WWII pacifist constitution.

A hefty victory in the October 22 poll would raise the likelihood that his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will retain Abe as its head for a third term next September, and increase the hawkish leader's chances of going on to become Japan's longest-serving premier.

With 10 days still to go, political sources warned there was still room for a slip-up, as about half the voters surveyed remained undecided.

For now though, projections by the Nikkei business daily, Yomiuri newspaper and Kyodo news agency showed Abe's conservative LDP-led coalition on track to win close to 300 or more seats in the 465-member lower house, improving the super-majority that it held in the last parliament.

The LDP alone could win about 288 seats, or about the same as before dissolution, Kyodo forecast.

"The scramble gamble paid off for Abe," said Jesper Koll, head of equity fund WisdomTree Japan. "If the LDP gets 250-280 seats, he's safe."

With no election needed until late next year, some analysts had predicted Abe might regret his early bid for a fresh mandate.


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