Japan's ruling party heads to polls as underdog
Tokyo: Japan's ruling Conservative Party, battered by a laggard economy and voter desire for change after more than half a century of virtual one-party rule, was expected to suffer an overwhelming defeat tomorrow in hotly contested elections.
The Liberal Democratic Party, which has governed Japan
for all but 11 months since 1955, went into the elections with
all major polls projecting they would lose control of the
lower House of Parliament.
That would likely mean the fall of Prime Minister Taro
Aso and his Cabinet and the creation of a new government
headed by centrist Democratic Party of Japan chief Yukio
Hatoyama -- who would become the first prime minister not
backed by the LDP since 1994.
The vote is widely seen as a barometer of two related
issues -- voter frustrations over the ailing economy, which is
in one of its worst slumps since World War II, and a loss of
confidence in the Liberal Democrats' ability to tackle tough
problems such as the rising national debt and rapidly ageing
But even with severe challenges pressing the nation,
many analysts said the vote may not be about the issues so
much as voters' general desire for something new after nearly
54 years under the Liberal Democrats.