Tokyo, Sep 2 (efe-epa).- The ruling party of Japan will elect its new leader Sep. 14, who will become prime minister in succession to Shinzo Abe after he announced his intention to resign from office, state broadcaster NHK reported Wednesday.
The electoral committee of the Liberal Democratic Party decided to hold the vote on its convention on that date, after which the Diet (Parliament) must ratify the elected person as the new prime minister.
On Tuesday evening, the general council of the ruling party decided that Abe’s successor will be chosen at a reduced party convention, reinforcing the options of the considered favorite for the position, the current chief of staff and minister spokesman, Yoshihide Suga.
As Abe’s right-hand man, Suga, 74, is seen as a continuation on the current prime minister’s policies and is scheduled to formally announce his candidacy to lead the PLD on Wednesday.
Suga is backed by the two main factions and a minor third of the party, according to the Japanese media, which would provide him with a sufficient part of the 535 votes that will be cast in a reduced PLD convention where party legislators and their representatives will participate in each prefecture.
His contenders will be former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, highly critical of Abe’s management, and former Foreign Minister and PLD political chief Fumio Kishida, whom polls give little chance of taking over from the prime minister.
The PLD will start the campaign of the candidates on Sep. 8, and the vote will take place on Sep. 14 in a hotel in Tokyo with special measures to prevent possible infections of coronavirus, NHK reported.
The next prime minister will then be elected in a session of the Diet expected to be between Sep. 16 and Sep. 18, and would remain in the position at least until September 2021, when Abe’s original term was to end. EFE-EPA