Defeat All but Certain for Japan's Aso, Ruling Party

Sunday election likely to end 54 years in power
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2009 6:00 AM CDT
Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso, the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, speaks during a campaign rally in Kumagaya, north of Tokyo, earlier this week.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
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(Newser) – Sunday will likely mark a milestone in Japanese politics as voters dump the Liberal Democratic Party after more than a half-century in power, the Washington Post reports. Even senior LDP leaders acknowledge that Yukio Hatoyama will probably trounce incumbent Prime Minister Taro Aso, and polls predict a staggering turnout with a record 89% of voters interested in the election.

Hatoyama’s main asset seems to be simply that he is not Taro Aso, whose bumbling year in office has made him the object of open criticism by members of his own party. Hatoyama’s Democratic party made a series of expensive promises to voters, vowing to institute a stipend for child-rearing couples, make cheap daycare more available, eliminate highway tolls, reduce business taxes, and increase minimum pensions.