Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's ruling coalition was projected to maintain power in an election on Sunday, but his party was forecast to take a drubbing, a blow that could mean political instability in the world's third-biggest economy.
It was too close to call whether Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would maintain its majority in the lower house of parliament as a single party, according to exit polls by public broadcaster NHK, but the coalition with junior partner was forecast to maintain control.
The LDP-Komeito coalition was projected to win 239 to 288 seats in the lower house, more than the 233 needed for a majority, NHK said. The LDP was expected to win between 212 to 255 seats.
The vote was a test for Kishida, who called the election soon after taking the top post early this month, and for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has been battered by its perceived mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Already, Kishida has struggled to advance policies to help poorer people, while securing a big boost in military spending and taking a harder line on China.
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