Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on Monday. AFP
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday he would make full use of his surprisingly strong election win as he tackles major policy decisions, including trying to pass an extra budget to accelerate the recovery from the pandemic.
Kishida declared victory on Monday after leading his ruling coalition to a strong majority in national elections.
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The long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner Komeito won 293 of the 465 seats in parliament's lower house, local media reported while the official result was finalised.
Stocks surged to a one-month high on relief the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Sunday held onto its single-party majority in defiance of predictions — although it did lose a handful of seats, including that of party secretary-general Akira Amari.
Fumio Kishida delivers a speech to voters in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday. Reuters
The results are likely to embolden Kishida, only in power a month and with little yet to show in terms of policy successes, allowing him to put his stamp on the office ahead of an upper house election next year.
"We won a majority, which I think in this election was significant," he told reporters. "I want to make full use of this both in running the government and running parliament."
While initial exit polls on Sunday suggested the LDP would have to rely on its junior coalition partner, Komeito, to keep a majority, the conservative party — in power for all but a few years since its founding in 1955 — instead won a solid majority on its own.
A voter holds a leaflet of Liberal Democratic Party with cover photos of the PM Fumio Kishida in Tokyo. Reuters
In the end, the LDP claimed 261 seats against the 276 it held before the election - an absolute stable majority that will give it control of parliamentary committees and ease passage of legislation, including key budget proposals.
A poorer showing would have heightened expectations that Kishida could follow predecessor Yoshihide Suga in becoming another short-term premier in the wake of Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving premier, who stepped down last year due to ill health.
The benchmark Nikkei stock index rose more than two percent after news of the result, which enables the ruling bloc to enact bills on issues from pandemic stimulus to defence spending on its own.
It is a first big test for Prime Minister Kishida to determine if he has a large enough mandate to tackle a coronavirus-battered economy, a fast-aging and dwindling population and security challenges from China and North Korea.
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