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Japan Lawmakers Re-elect Abe as PM

Japan Lawmakers Re-elect Abe as PM

Wednesday, 1 November, 2017 - 12:30
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a press conference a day after his landslide election victory. AFP / Behrouz MEHRI

Japan's parliament on Wednesday formally re-elected Shinzo Abe as prime minister after his party's resounding victory in a snap election, setting the 63-year-old on track to become the country's longest-serving premier.

MPs voted by a huge majority to re-install Abe, after his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) swept to a two-thirds "super majority" on October 22.

In the 465-seat lower house, Abe won 312 votes from the conservative ruling bloc.

In the 242-seat upper house, he won a majority vote of 151 votes, returning him to the top Japanese political post.

"Our chamber nominates Mr. Shinzo Abe as the prime minister," lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima declared after the televised vote.

A beaming Abe then moved around the chamber, shaking hands with supporters.

During the campaign Abe had stressed the need for strong leadership to deal with what he called Japan's "twin crises", a belligerent and nuclear-armed North Korea and a shrinking birth rate.

He has also vowed to start a debate on the controversial issue of making changes to Japan's US-imposed post-war constitution to bolster the role of the military in the formally pacifist country.

The victory boosts Abe's chances of being re-elected as LDP leader next September for another three-year term, potentially extending his premiership to 2021.

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