Japan: Corruption Deals a Blow to Ruling Parties, Communists, Opposition Make Election Gains


7-31-07, 9:55 am

TOKYO, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Japan's opposition parties and independents won a total of 75 seats in Sunday's upper house election, grabbing majority in the 242-seat chamber, final vote counting results showed early Monday.

The opposition parties and independents, led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), secured a total of 75 seats on Sunday's election in which 121 seats were up for grabs. They will hold 137 seats in the 242-seats upper chamber, final vote counting results showed.

The ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito party won 37 and 9 seats respectively by the same time. The coalition will hold 105 seats in the upper house, compared with 133 before the election.

The DPJ, winning 60 seats in Sunday's election, will be the chamber's largest bloc. It would be the first time that a party other than the LDP has seized the most seats in the chamber since the LDP was established in 1955. The president of the upper house will therefore be elected from the major opposition DPJ.

The Japanese Communist Party, Social Democratic Party, People's New Party and New Party Nippon won 3, 2, 2 and 1 seats respectively. The independents grabbed 7 seats.

Half of the seats in the upper house come up for grabs every three years and a total of 377 candidates are vying for the 121 seats at stake this time round. Voting started at 7:00 a.m. (2200 GMT, Saturday) on Sunday at over 51,000 polling stations in Japan and ended at 8:00 p.m. (1100 GMT) in most stations. The turnout rate in Sunday's election reached 58.64 percent for the prefectural constituency section, up 2.07 percentage points from the previous upper house election in July 2004, according to the election management committees of the nation's 47 prefectures.

According to the internal ministry, the absentee ballots cast totaled some 10.8 million, marking an jump of 50.58 percent from the 2004 election.

From XhinuaNet

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