Japan Polls: No clear winner seen
- Mali hostage crisis ends as security forces gun down militants; 27 killed
- Sheena Bora case: Peter charged with murder, criminal conspiracy
- Nitish Kumar sworn in as Bihar Chief Minister; Lalu's sons in Cabinet
- UP keeps its distance from Bihar: Why Mulayam, Akhilesh didn't attend Nitish swearing-in
- Madras HC stays cancellation of Greenpeace India registration
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was poised to dissolve Japan's parliament Friday, setting the stage for elections next month that will likely result in a weak coalition government with differing policies on the country's economic woes, territorial disputes and other problems.
Polls show that nearly half of the electorate is undecided on which party to support but it's clear that the ruling Democrats – in power for the last three years – are very likely to lose. That sets the stage for Japan to get its seventh prime minister in seven years.
Media reports say the elections will be held Dec. 16.
Although the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which led Japan for most of the post-World War II era, would win the most seats in the 480-seat lower house, it would fall far short of a majority if elections were held now, according to the polls.
With no party a clear winner, Japan will end up with a coalition government made up of parties with differing policies and priorities. This could hinder decision-making as Japan wrestles with a two-decade economic slump, cleanup from last year's nuclear disaster, growing national debt and a rapidly aging population – not to mention a festering territorial dispute with China that is hurting business ties with its biggest trading partner.
"It's unlikely that the election will result in a clear mandate for anybody,'' said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University. ``So in that sense, there's still going to be a lot of muddling through.''
Japan must also decide whether it will follow through with plans to phase out nuclear power by 2040 _ a move many in the LDP oppose.
In a sudden turn of events, Noda abruptly said Wednesday in a one-on-one debate with LDP chief Shinzo Abe that he would dissolve parliament Friday if the opposition would agree to key reforms, including shrinking the size of parliament.
- Modi can leverage foreign policy to repair his domestic image
- Muslims biggest losers from our reservation policy, one that Bhagwat rightly wants reviewed
- If Pak state really cared for its people, it would put national economy above all else
- Despite little coverage in India, the Argentinian presidential election is significant
- Uday lacks a strong, accessible monitoring mechanism critical for its success
- What Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar won’t say