Premier set for big win in snap election

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Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party is heading for a landslide victory in lower house elections, according to projections released seconds after polls closed.

The projections show the ruling Liberal Democratic Party easily retaining its majority in the 475-seat lower house of parliament. Exit polls have been reliable predictors of the final results in past elections.

The vote was seen as less of a verdict on Mr Abe’s policies than an acquiescence to the ruling party’s growing power.

Despite weakening popularity ratings, a recession and messy campaign finance scandals, the Liberal Democratic Party was virtually certain to triumph thanks to voter apathy and a weak opposition. Tokyo’s municipal government said turnout in the city was lower than the last election two years ago, with 26 per cent of voters showing up as of mid-afternoon.