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Kishida Unlikely to Call Snap Election Within 2023

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is unlikely to call a snap election later this year as he is expected to make efforts through November to ensure the early passage of a draft supplementary budget, government sources say.

In December, Kishida is certain to concentrate on compiling an initial draft budget for the next fiscal year from April 2024, making it more difficult for him to dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election by the end of the year, the sources said.

A diplomatic event slated for December has also quelled speculation that Kishida, who has been eager to strengthen his political footing ahead of the presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party next year, will call a lower house election within 2023.

After gauging the outcome of two national by-elections on Oct. 22, Kishida would make a final decision on whether to proceed with year-end dissolution, the sources said.

Kishida has pledged to craft a new economic package designed to ease the negative impact of rising prices in October and submit the draft supplementary budget for fiscal 2023 to fund the stimulus to the extraordinary parliamentary session to be convened on Oct. 20.

The sources said Kishida has told his close aides that he will place priority on securing the passage of the draft extra budget during the upcoming Diet session to curb the adverse effects of price hikes and achieve wage growth in the private sector.

One of the aides, meanwhile, has informed an official of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito that the likelihood of lower house dissolution within the year is “low,” the sources added.

As the draft supplementary budget may be passed by the parliament as late as early December, there would be little room for Kishida to call a snap election within 2023, given a tight schedule related to the compilation of the initial budget for fiscal 2024.

For three days from Dec. 16, Kishida is also set to host a special summit in Tokyo with leaders from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which will commemorate the 50th year of Japan’s friendship and cooperation with the regional bloc.

If Kishida chooses to postpone dissolution, possible options for calling a general election would include the beginning of the regular Diet session to be convened in January or the end of the assembly in mid-2024, the sources said.

Kishida, who became the prime minister in October 2021, is believed to be willing to seek reelection as the LDP leader in the party’s presidential race around September 2024 in a bid to pave the way for establishing a long-lasting government.

The four-year terms of current lower house members will expire in October 2025 unless a prime minister dissolves the chamber.

Source: Japan Today