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Shinzo Abe scores major victory in Japan’s national elections

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TOKYO —  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has scored a major victory in national elections on Sunday that returned his ruling coalition to power for another three-year term next September.

The victory could extend his premiership to 2021, giving him more time to try to win a reluctant public over to his longtime goal of revising Japan’s postwar pacifist constitution.

The victory also means a continuation of the policies Abe has pursued in the nearly five years since he took office in December 2012 — a hard line on North Korea, close ties with Washington, including defense, as well as a super-loose monetary policy and push for nuclear energy.

Shortly after polls closed, Japanese media projected that Abe’s LDP and its junior partner Komeito would win a clear majority and might even retain their two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and a small coalition partner had together secured at least 312 seats in the 465-seat lower house of parliament, Japanese media said, passing the 310-barrier for a two-thirds majority. Four seats remained undecided, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

Abe dissolved the lower house less than a month ago, forcing the snap election. The lower house chooses the prime minister and is the more powerful of the two chambers of parliament.

His support ratings had fallen to around 30 percent in the summer, sparking talk that he might be vulnerable as leader of his party and prime minister.

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DPM Pokharel gets responsibility of Officiating PM

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KATHMANDU — Ahead of his visit to the People’s Republic of China, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has given the responsibility of the Officiating PM to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Ishwar Pokharel.

PM Oli, who is also the chairman of Nepal Communist Party (CPN), is leaving here for China today.

Similarly, Oli has appointed party’s senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal as the officiating chairman of CPN, according to CPN central committee member Bishnu Rijal. Currently, another chairman of CPN Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ is out of the country.

Likewise, deputy parliamentary party leader of CPN Subas Chandra Nembang has got the responsibility of officiating parliamentary party leader in the absence of parliamentary party leader and PM Oli.

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