AOMORI (Kyodo) Hiroshi Shikanai, supported by the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, defeated two other candidates, including the ruling camp-backed incumbent, in Sunday’s Aomori mayoral election.

The election was closely watched due to its implications for Aomori prefectural constituencies in the next House of Representatives election, which must be held by the fall.

In addition to Shikanai, a 61-year-old former prefectural assembly member, incumbent Seizo Sasaki, 76, supported by the Liberal Democratic Party and local organizations of New Komeito, and Ryo Seki, 51, a former city assembly member, campaigned in the election. All three ran as independents.

Shikanai called for a change at the city’s helm, which Sasaki has held since 1989.

The results are believed to have dealt a blow to Yuji Tsushima, an LDP Lower House member from the No. 1 constituency of Aomori Prefecture and chief of the ruling party’s tax panel, who provided Sasaki full-fledged support during the campaign.

Voter turnout came to 56.63 percent, up 4.26 percentage points from the previous mayoral election.

On Sunday, mayoral elections were held in 19 cities, including Aomori, with incumbents defeated in six races.

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