Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that he will dissolve the House of Representatives on Friday, calling a snap election for December 14.

Abe made the announcement at a press conference Tuesday evening, where he also declared the consumption tax hike that was to take effect in October 2015 will be pushed back 18 months. The increase would have brought national consumption tax to 10 percent following a baby-step hike from 5 percent to 8 percent in April.

The news comes on the back of poor economic indicators published Monday, when the Cabinet Office released preliminary GDP figures indicating negative growth from July to September of 1.6 percent on an annual basis.

Abe said he called the election to secure a public mandate for his consumption tax decision—though he also pledged never to delay the tax rise again.

The election is expected to be a referendum on so-called “Abenomics,” the prime minister’s policy of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms.

Via The Japan News