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Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday dissolved the Diet, or parliament, and called for a general election on Oct. 31 as the lower house ended its four-year term.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito are seeking to maintain their dominance in the Diet through the election. There are 465 seats up for grabs in the lower house and the LDP has 276 seats and Komeito has 29 for a total of 305, close to a two-thirds majority of 310.
Kishida, elected as LDP leader last month, has said that the goal of the coalition is to retain a simple majority.