Abe re-elected Japanese PM after election landslide (Lead)

Tokyo, Nov 1 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was re-appointed the nation’s leader on Wednesday after his ruling bloc’s big election win last month and retained all of his ministers in his new Cabinet.

Abe, 63, was re-elected in a special parliamentary session. He received 312 votes in favour out of 465 in the House of Representatives, where his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) enjoys an absolute majority.

Abe’s Cabinet saw all ministers retain their portfolios following the ruling LDP’s sweeping victory in the October 22 lower house election, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Prime Minister, in a bid to ensure his party’s political continuity going forward, notably kept his key allies in their posts.

These include Taro Aso who will continue to double as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister and Taro Kono whose role as Foreign Minister will remain unchanged.

Itsunori Onodera will continue as Defence Minister and the government’s top spokesperson. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has also seen his role unchanged.

With the exception of Keiichi Ishii, who was re-appointed as Environment Minister and is a member of the LDP’s coalition Komeito party ally, Abe’s Cabinet all belong to the ruling LDP. Abe last reshuffled his Cabinet lineup on August 3.

Before the special session, which will run through December 9, Abe’s cabinet resigned en masse, with his fourth Cabinet since the Premier retook the helm in 2012, to be sworn in at an attestation ceremony later in the day at the Imperial Palace.

As Abe’s ruling coalition holds a majority in the upper house, the vote for Abe as Prime Minister in the upper chamber, which he also secured, was merely a formality, the report said.

The lower house earlier on Wednesday also re-elected house Speaker Tadamori Oshima and selected Hirotaka Akamatsu, a member of the now main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, as vice speaker.

Abe, who has now become Japan’s 98th Prime Minister, will hold talks with Komeito party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi later in the day.

Abe will likely, in the weeks and months ahead, push for parliamentary debate over the first-ever amendment to Japan’s pacifist Constitution, with the Japanese leader wanting the supreme charter to explicitly make reference to Japan’s Self-Defence Forces.


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