Embattled Japan PM Calls Elections

Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso bows to his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers during their meeting at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo, July 21, 2009.
AP Photo/Issei Kato
Japan's prime minister has dissolved the powerful lower house of parliament and called national elections.

The speaker of the lower house announced the move Tuesday, setting the stage for a vote that could trigger a rare change in Japan's political leadership. Prime Minister Taro Aso has said he will call the national vote for Aug. 30.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has had a majority in the lower house for most of the past 50 years. But the main opposition, the Democratic Party of Japan, has won a series of local elections and drawn broad support in recent polls.

The party that wins a majority in the lower house picks the prime minister and government ministers from among its ranks.