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Poll: More Japan voters want new PM before election

MORE Japanese voters want Prime Minister Taro Aso to quit than want him to stay on as leader, a newspaper poll showed today, ahead of a national election due within months that his long-ruling party looks set to lose.

Frustration with Aso, due to policy flip-flops as Japan struggles with recession, has fuelled moves within his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to oust him before a general election widely expected in August.

The poll of 1,087 voters by the Yomiuri newspaper showed support for Aso's cabinet was hovering at about 20 percent, in line with other recent polls. It was the first survey to ask whether Aso should be replaced.

The Yomiuri poll showed 44 percent of voters wanted a new leader before the election, while 39 percent thought Aso should stay. Among independents, more than half wanted Aso to go and even 37 percent of LDP supporters wanted him to be replaced.

A loss for the LDP in an election for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on Sunday would intensify calls for Aso to resign, although it is unclear if anyone else in the party would be popular enough to boost the ruling bloc's fortunes.

A victory for the main opposition Democratic Party would end a half-century of nearly unbroken rule by the LDP and raise the chances of resolving a policy deadlock in a divided parliament as Japan tries to recover from recession.


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