TOKYO (Reuters/AFP) - Japanese voters swept the Opposition to a historic victory in an election on Sunday, ousting the ruling conservative party and handing the untested Democrats the job of breathing life into a struggling economy. The win by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), led by Yukio Hatoyama, ended a half-century of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and breaks a deadlock in parliament, ushering in a government that has promised to focus spending on consumers, cut wasteful budget outlays and reduce the power of bureaucrats. Media exit polls showed the Democratic Party had won around 320 seats in the 480-seat lower house of parliament - almost triple its 115 before the election. The LDP slumped to just over 100 seats from 300. Voters frustrated with the governments handling of Japans worst post-war recession punished Prime Minister Taro Aso and forced the LDP from office for only the second time since 1955. The exit polls indicate the soft-spoken Hatoyama, 62, is on course to take over as prime minister at a time when the worlds number two economy is just emerging from the recession and still struggling with record unemployment. I am thankful for the support shown by the public, said DPJ leader Hatoyama, who is expected to take over as prime minister in about two weeks once the new parliament or Diet convenes. The people are angry with politics now and the ruling coalition. We felt a great sense of people wanting change for their livelihoods and we fought this election for a change in government, said Hatoyama. Hatoyama, the wealthy grandson of a former prime minister, is expected to name a transition team on Monday (today) to prepare to take power. Media projections showed the Democrats set for a landslide win, possibly taking two-thirds of the seats in parliaments powerful 480-member lower house. That matched earlier forecasts of a drubbing for Prime Minister Taro Asos LDP. The ruling party loss ended a three-way partnership between the LDP, big business and bureaucrats that turned Japan into an economic powerhouse after the countrys defeat in World War Two. That strategy foundered when Japans bubble economy burst in the late 1980s and growth has stagnated since. The Democrats will have to move fast to keep support among voters worried about a record jobless rate and a rapidly ageing society that is inflating social security costs. Taking responsibility for the crushing defeat, PM Taro Aso said he would resign as head of the LDP, adding an LDP leadership race to pick a successor should be held soon. We have to make a fresh start swiftly by holding a presidential (party) election, he added in brief comments. As one member of the party, I must strive for the revival of the LDP. Japanese news agency Jiji said the LDPs performance was the partys worst since its founding in 1955. Support for the LDP, which swept to a huge election win in 2005 on charismatic leader Junichiro Koizumis pledges of reform, crumbled due to scandals and a perceived inability to address the deep-seated problems of a shrinking and fast-ageing population. The Democrats want to forge a diplomatic stance more independent of the US, raising concerns about possible friction in the alliance. The LDP is probably going to be missed more in Washington than in Japan, said Michael Auslin at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Japan is ageing more quickly than any other rich country. More than a quarter of its people will be 65 or older by 2015.