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World Briefing / Japan

Move opens way to key balloting

July 21, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Japan's prime minister has dissolved the powerful lower house of parliament and called national elections.

The speaker of the lower house announced the move today, setting the stage for a vote that could transform the nation's political power structure. Prime Minister Taro Aso has said he will call the national vote for Aug. 30, the first such elections for the lower house since 2005.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has had a majority in the lower house for most of the last 50 years.

But the main opposition, the Democratic Party of Japan, has won a series of local elections and drawn broad support in recent polls.

The party that wins a majority in the lower house picks the prime minister and Cabinet officials from among its ranks.

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