Sun, Oct 01, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Tokyo governor Koike’s party a threat to Abe

HOPEFUL RUN:The poll showed 19 percent support for the new party, which the opposition Democratic Party backed shortly after its creation by Koike this week

AFP, TOKYO

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks during a news conference on her new “Party of Hope” in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Japaense Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s lead in this month’s election has shrunk as popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike pushes to unite opposition forces, a survey by Japan’s top-selling daily said yesterday.

Thirty-four percent of Japanese plan to vote for Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), while 19 percent favor a party formed this week by Koike, a poll in the Yomiuri Shimbun showed.

It also showed that one-quarter of those polled were still undecided on how to vote in the Oct. 22 election.

The findings suggest that Abe’s path to victory might not be as easy as earlier believed.

The poll was taken on Thursday and Friday, right after the main opposition Democratic Party made a surprise move to join forces with Koike’s newborn “Party of Hope.”

Koike is also talking with smaller opposition groups to explore cooperation possibilities.

A survey last weekend in the leading business daily Nikkei had showed that 44 percent of Japanese plan to vote for the LDP, while only 8 percent favored the Democratic Party.

Abe on Monday called the snap election, seeking a fresh term at the helm of the world’s third-largest economy.

He hoped to capitalize on a weak and fractured opposition to sweep back into power, as polls had shown him regaining ground for his hawkish stance on rising tensions with nearby North Korea.

However, Koike stole his limelight by launching her party with the criticism that the pace of much-needed reforms under Abe’s government is too slow.

The Yomiuri conducted the survey on which party voters plan to cast their ballots for under the proportional representation system.

A total of 465 seats are up for grabs in the lower-house election on Oct. 22, of which 289 are to be elected from single-seat districts and 176 by proportional representation.

Both Yomiuri and Nikkei surveys were telephone polls that covered more than 1,000 eligible voters across the nation.

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