The governor Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) of the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, defied expectations and held onto the majority in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, according to exit polls, solidifying his position in a factional party and allowing him to increase stimulus.

Although the conservative PLD de Kishida end up with fewer seats than it won in the last elections in 2017 in the powerful Low camera, the party retained its majority, according to the exit polls of the public broadcaster NHK early Monday morning.

The result contradicted expectations and initial exit polls that suggested the PLD could lose an absolute majority. Kishida, a soft-spoken ex-banker who has struggled to shed an image he lacks charisma, is likely to be emboldened with victory.

The vote was a test for Kishida, who called the elections shortly after taking office earlier this month, and for his powerful party, which has been plagued by the perception that it mishandled the coronavirus pandemic.

“The general trend is in favor of stability. The PLD overcame the obstacles it had to overcome,” said Tobias Harris, senior researcher at the Center for American Progress. “We will see a lot of stimuli.”

A weaker result would have raised expectations that he could have had a short term in office, just like his predecessor Yoshihide Suga.

But the party did take some major blows, including the loss of its secretary general, Akira Amari, in your one-seat district. Amari, a key backer for Kishida, intended to step down from the party, NHK said.

While Kishida has stuck to the traditional policies of the party’s right wing, pushing for increased military spending, he has also vowed to tackle wealth inequality, promoting a “new capitalism” that has stoked concern among investors.

The PLD was expected to win at least 253 lower house seats early Monday, according to NHK, comfortably above the 233 needed for a majority. This would be well below the 276 seats before the elections.

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