Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the lower house of parliament yesterday, paving the way for elections in which his ruling party will likely give way to a weak coalition government divided over how to solve Japan’s myriad problems.
Elections were set for Dec. 16.
If Noda’s center-left party loses, the economically sputtering country will get its seventh prime minister in seven years.
“Banzai, Banzai, Banzai,” shouted the 480 or so lawmakers in the lower house, raising their arms each time in celebration, after the house speaker read a proclamation approved by Japanese Emperor Akihito, delivered wrapped in a cloth of imperial violet.
The opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which led Japan for most of the post-World War II era, is in the best position to take over.
The timing of the election likely pre-empts moves by more conservative challengers, including former Tokyo mayor Shintaro Ishihara, to build up electoral support.
Campaigning is set to begin on Dec. 4.