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Japan’s ruling coalition fails to get constitutional majority in parliament

July 21, 2013, 20:42 UTC+3
However the Constitution may still be amended if the parties come to agreement among themselves
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TOKYO, July 21 (Itar-Tass) - Japan’s ruling coalition made up of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito will have at least 73 of 121 seats in the upper house of the national parliament after the election that ended on Sunday, July 21.

The remaining 13 mandates will be distributed within hours. The other 35 seats went to other parties.

The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito will have a majority in the upper house and will be able to stabilise its work. However this is still not enough for a constitutional majority of two-thirds of the seats in both houses (480 of 722) that would have allowed it to amend the Constitution.

The two parties have 325 of 480 seats in the lower house. After Sunday’s election, the ruling coalition will get slightly over 130 seats in the upper house. Its members are elected for six years on condition that half of them (121) are be elected every three years. Prior to the polls, the ruling coalition had 59 seats that were not contested during the just concluded election.

However the Constitution may still be amended if the parties come to agreement among themselves. For example, the Liberal Democratic Party and two small parties - the Japan Restoration Party and Your Party - call for a revision of Article 9 of the Constitution, which renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

However, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito disagree on this issue. And any attempt to amend the Constitution will have to go through heated debates and strenuous talks as the ruling coalition will not be able to form a constitutional majority and will have to take into account the opinion of opposition parties and negotiate each proposed amendment with them.

The election to the upper house of parliament went calmly with a turnout slightly lower than in 2010. Local specialists attribute this to the absence of a political intrigue - a week prior to the polls, the majority of public opinion surveys predicted a convincing victory for the ruling coalition.

Prime Minister and Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe said that the outcome of the election signified support for his party’s economic policy and pledged to continue it.

He also stressed that he would like to continue political dialogue in a calm atmosphere and noted that the political system in the country has stabilised.

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