The Congress party is debating holding a general election in November, six months ahead of schedule, senior party leaders said, reflecting an internal discussion over whether to pull the plug on the shaky ruling coalition or have it serve a full term. Full Article
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Japan finmin: govt could run out of money by end-Nov
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi warned on Friday that the government could run out of money by the end of November even with spending delays adopted under a contingency plan to cope with the opposition's blocking of a deficit-bond bill, which is needed to proceed with many of the government's expenditures.
Azumi made the remarks as the opposition-controlled upper house of parliament showed no signs of enacting the bond bill before the current session ends on Saturday, with the opposition demanding an early general election in exchange for support on the bill.
The spectre has emerged of a Japanese version of a "fiscal cliff" of economically damaging spending cuts, as the deficit-bond bill's delay raises concerns among investors about the potential impact on the economy and financial markets, although financial markets have so far shown little reaction.
The contingency plan includes a delay in 5 trillion yen worth of spending under the government's general-account budget that was planned for September-November.
Further spending delays could be considered if the deficit-bond bill remains deadlocked, Azumi said.
"That could significantly affect the livelihoods of the people and economic activity," Azumi told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
"I want the ruling and opposition parties to consult with each other and swiftly enact the bill at an extraordinary parliament session," he added. An extraordinary session is expected to be held in the autumn.
The deficit-bond bill -- needed to implement roughly 40 percent of the annual budget's total spending of about 90.3 trillion yen -- cleared the lower house last month, but it has been blocked in the opposition-controlled upper chamber.
The upper house passed a censure motion against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda last month, piling more pressure on him to make good on his promise to call a general election soon.
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Edmund Klamann)
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