Japan PM Shinzo Abe set for re-election after 'Abenomics' poll win

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to be re-elected today with a broadly similar cabinet following his mid-December election triumph that was billed as a referendum on his economic growth blitz.

hidden December 24, 2014 08:33:35 IST
Japan PM Shinzo Abe set for re-election after 'Abenomics' poll win

Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to be re-elected today with a broadly similar cabinet following his mid-December election triumph that was billed as a referendum on his economic growth blitz. Abe's incumbent cabinet are scheduled to resign en masse today morning before parliament elects the 60-year-old premier with an overwhelming majority following his ruling coalition's victory in the December 14 general election.

Abe will then announce his new cabinet today afternoon, which local media say will be largely unchanged, and include deputy premier and finance minister Taro Aso as well as foreign minister Fumio Kishida. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition swept the ballot, winning a two-thirds majority in the lower house election. The upper chamber is also controlled by his ruling bloc.

Japan PM Shinzo Abe set for reelection after Abenomics poll win

Shinzo Abe. AFP.

The conservative leader billed the election as a referendum on his Abenomics growth plan, and pledged to concentrate on re-igniting the world's number three economy, calling it his "top priority". Japan had appeared on track for recovery after Abe swept to power in late 2012, but an April sales tax rise slammed the brakes on growth and plunged the economy into recession.

"We heard people's voices calling for me to push on with Abenomics," he told a news conference following the election. "I will carry out economic measures powerfully and boldly."

As a first step, Abe is expected to announce fresh measures later this week, partially financed by a supplementary budget worth some 3.0 trillion yen ($25 billion) to counter the post tax-rise downturn. The new measures will feature housing loan subsidies and tuition support for students, Japan's leading Yomiuri newspaper and other media reported.

Abenomics - a blend of big government spending, monetary easing and reforms to Japan's highly regulated economy - has sent the yen sharply lower and boosted stocks. But Abe's failure to implement some of the tough changes economists say are needed -- re-imagining the labour market and tackling an inefficient agricultural sector -- has left the premier open to the charge that he is pursuing style over
substance.

Analysts say the election victory was less a resounding endorsement of Abe and his policies, than a symptom of a weak and fragmented opposition offering few credible alternatives. According to a post-election opinion poll conducted by the Yomiuri, just seven per cent of respondents thought his economic measures were the reason for the victory, while 55 per cent said the LDP should have won fewer seats.

AFP

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