Japan's ruling party Democratic Party of Japan faced the prospect of political gridlock Monday as bad losses in weekend parliamentary elections undermine its attempts to reduce the second-largest economy's ballooning budget deficit and revive growth. The DPJ won only 44 out of 242 seats — far below its stated goal of 54.
The shattering defeat results in the DPJ scrambling for coalition allies, leaving the current leadership of Prime Minister Naoto Kan increasingly vulnerable. If the Democrats fail to join forces with another party or two to gain a majority in the upper house - a prospect that looks unlikely - they will likely have difficulty moving ahead on their agenda.
Taking office a month ago after the resignation of the deeply unpopular Yukio Hatoyama, Kan pledged to restore the nation's vigour after two decades of economic malaise and tackle a public debt nearing 200 percent of GDP.
Official results will be released later today.
Big election losses could hinder Japan ruling party attempts to tackle debt, revive economy [TODAY, 12 July 2010]
Election defeat erodes hope for strong leadership in Japan [Channel NewsAsia, 12 July 2010]
Japan braces for gridlock after ruling party loss [Associated Press, 12 July 2010]