TOKYO (AP) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has dissolved the lower house of Japan's parliament, paving the way for a general election next month.

TOKYO (AP) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has dissolved the lower house of Japan's parliament, paving the way for a general election next month.

Friday's dissolution will lead to elections expected on Dec. 14.

The vote is widely seen as an attempt by Abe to shore up support for his government after a series of finance-related scandals hit his newly named Cabinet this fall.

His ruling Liberal Democratic Party may lose some seats but is likely to retain a solid majority with its coalition partner in the 480-seat lower house.

The election follows Abe's decision this week to postpone a planned increase in the consumption tax after the economy slipped into recession. He is portraying the election as a referendum on his economic revitalization policies and the postponing of the tax increase.