Abe coalition may keep two-thirds majority in Japan's Dec 14 election: Media polls

Japan's Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party Shinzo Abe speaks during a debate session with seven other party leaders, ahead of the Dec 14 lower house election, in Tokyo Dec 1, 2014. Abe's coalition may keep its two-t
Japan's Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party Shinzo Abe speaks during a debate session with seven other party leaders, ahead of the Dec 14 lower house election, in Tokyo Dec 1, 2014. Abe's coalition may keep its two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament, media projections showed.  -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition may keep its two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament, media projections showed, hinting he could claim a new mandate for his “Abenomics” recipe to revive the world’s third-biggest economy.

The results of surveys on Thursday by major newspapers suggested a strong win for the conservative premier, who called the Dec 14 election last month as a referendum on his economic policies, especially a decision to postpone an increase in the national sales tax.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is on track to take 300 or more of the chamber’s 475 seats, according to the projections in the Asahi, Nikkei and Yomiuri newspapers.

Two surveys indicated the LDP’s coalition with Komeito may stay above the 317 seats needed to keep the “super majority” needed to override votes in the upper house.

The LDP held 295 seats and the coalition 326 of the 479 seats when the premier dissolved the lower house. The number of seats in the chamber will decline because of electoral-district reforms.

The survey results indicate the coalition will easily beat the 266-seat goal that ruling party executives have set for themselves – enough for a stable majority that would allow control of all key committees in the chamber.

Abe has said he would resign if the LDP and its junior coalition partner fail to win a simple majority of 238 seats, a low bar that experts say the ruling bloc will easily clear.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan is expected to add to its 62 seats but struggle to hit the 100 seats it has targeted, the projections indicated.