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A ruling-party supported candidate won the Niigata governor’s election on Sunday, providing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and one of his key Liberal Democratic Party allies with a big morale boost in the midst of ongoing Diet scandals.

In a tight contest that has implications for both Abe’s political fortunes and the country’s nuclear power policy, Hideyo Hanazumi, 60, a former secretary to powerful LDP secretary-general Toshihiro Nikai, beat Chikako Ikeda, 57, a former Kashiwazaki Municipal Assembly member who had the support of five major opposition parties.

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