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|31 August 2009
Japanese voters swept to power an untested centre-left party Sunday in an electoral avalanche that ended more than half a century of almost unbroken conservative rule, reported AFP, citing media projections.
The opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), led by Yukio Hatoyama, stormed home with more than 300 seats in the 480-seat lower house of parliament.
Voters frustrated with the government's handling of Japan's worst post-war recession punished Prime Minister Taro Aso and forced the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from office for only the second time since 1955.
The soft-spoken Hatoyama, 62, will take over as prime minister at a time when the world's number two economy is just emerging from recession and still struggling with record unemployment.
Hatoyama, a US-trained engineering scholar and scion of an old political dynasty, campaigned on a promise of change and people-centred politics against the business-friendly LDP, headed by fellow political blueblood Aso.
"Today the people of Japan have taken courage to choose a change in the rule of government, and for that I am thankful," said Hatoyama, who is expected to be formally elected premier in a Diet session the week of September 14.
He vowed "a shift from old politics to new politics - that is, a new government that centres on the people".
And he reiterated calls for a gentler form of capitalism, saying: "We should not treat market fundamentalism as the answer to everything."
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