Japan’s ruling party wins election by landslide after former leader Shinzo Abe’s assassination

Japan’s ruling party has won big in parliamentary elections held on Sunday, just days after the assassination of its former leader and prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Early results from the polls for Japan’s upper house of parliament said the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), currently led by prime minister Fumio Kishida, had secured a landslide win.

LDP and its coalition partner Komeito won 76 out of the 125 seats being contested, well above the 56 seats needed to retain their majority and above the 69 seats they had won previously, according to public broadcaster NHK.

As of Monday morning, preliminary vote counts showed the LDP coalition was on course to hold a total 146 seats in the 248-seat upper house.

Upper house MPs in Japan serve six-year terms and elections are held every three years for half of the chamber.

There were 545 candidates in Sunday’s poll, which included one extra seat to fill a vacancy. A record 35 women are projected to have won seats, compared to 28 elected in the last upper house polls.

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said voter turnout for the election was 52.05 per cent.

Mr Kishida said on Sunday there was “major significance” in successfully holding an election just two days after Abe’s assassination.

“It is proof that we will not bow down to terrorism,” he said.

“I want to bring results for the new type of capitalism that I have been promoting. We will take steps to address the pain from inflation and also seek to raise wages,” he added.

Natsuo Yamaguchi from Komeito, LDP’s coalition partner, said: “It is important to take advantage of the results entrusted to us in the election for the sake of the people.”

Japan’s lawmakers had urged citizens to vote in Sunday’s polls in the wake of Abe’s assassination and denounced the shooting of the former prime minister as an attack on democracy.

Abe, 67, was shot during a campaign speech in support of an LDP candidate in Nara.