Japanese PM Refuses to Pack It In

After crushing defeat, Shinzo Abe holds on as political gridlock looms
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2007 4:59 AM CDT
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacts after learning the return of the upper house elections at the Liberal Democratic Party headquarters in Tokyo Sunday, July 29, 2007. Projections indicated the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will keep his job despite a humiliating defeat for his ruling party in Sunday's election, party officials said today. Only 10 months into his term, Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party lost their majority as voters reacted to a series of government scandals. Now government gridlock looms as the entering party clashes with the embattled leader.

Abe's LDP and its coalition partner won only 45 of the 121 open seats, giving the opposition DJP control of the upper house of Parliament. But his party, which has ruled Japan for the last 50 years, is backing the embattled PM, blaming a devastating scandal over pension funds, not Abe's leadership, for the defeat. “It just so happened that Abe was the helm,” said the LDP deputy secretary.