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Japanese Ruling Coalition Wins Re-Election Despite "Abenomics" Recession

The ruling coalition, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will remain in power despite record-low turnout by voters.

Posted on December 14, 2014, at 4:40 p.m. ET

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Toru Hanai / Reuters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cruised to a big election win, ensuring the ruling party will remain in power, in an election widely seen as a referendum on his economic policies.

Japan's ruling coalition, the Liberal Democratic Party, won a two-thirds majority in parliamentary elections. The LDP will govern with the Buddhist-backed Komeito party after the parties won 325 out of the 475 seats. The main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan, won 73 seats, an increase of 11, public broadcaster NHK said.

Abe, who has been in power since for two years, has attempted to revive Japan's failing economy by raising public spending and printing money through policies that became widely known as "Abenomics."

Despite some initial growth, Japan fell back into a recession earlier this year. A number of economists blamed the recession on an increase in sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent in April.

Abe called the election to get a mandate to delay a second increase of sales tax to 10% in 2015, the BBC reported.

The Democratic Party of Japan held power from 2009 to 2012. Its popularity plunged after it struggled in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

Despite Abe's big win, voter turnout hit a record low. Japanese media predicted a 52.4% turnout, down approximately 7% from the 2012 election.

The White House congratulated Abe on his election victory calling the U.S.-Japan alliance "the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific."

"We appreciate Prime Minister Abe's strong leadership on a wide range of regional and global issues, from typhoon relief in the Philippines to Ebola response, to the international fight against ISIL," the statement read.

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