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Three Lower House by-elections to take place in October

A by-election in the House of Representatives fifth district of Niigata is likely to take place on October 22 in light of the death of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Lower House member Tadayoshi Nagashima. The election will be held at the same time as the by-elections in the fourth district of Aomori and in the third district of Ehime, where ruling and opposition party candidates will face off. The unusual triple by-elections are likely to be a barometer of the outcome of the next Lower House election, which will be held before December 2018.


These three elections will be the first national elections since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his cabinet and revamped the LDP leadership on Aug. 3. LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida indicated to reporters in Ryugasaki City, Ibaraki Prefecture on Aug. 19 that the party will move forward quickly to arrange a candidate for the fifth district of Niigata.


The three elections will also be the first national elections for the new Democratic Party (DP) president, who will be elected on Sept. 1. Since all three elections will be so-called tomurai gassen for the LDP, in which the party will probably field relatives or close associates of the deceased lawmakers [which tend to win sympathy votes], the DP is expected to face an uphill battle. However, a DP source is optimistic, saying, “It will be a great boost for the new president if we win one of the elections.” (Abridged)

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