Election campaign for leadership of Japan’s ruling party kicks off

Tokyo, Sep 17 (EFE).- Campaigning for the leadership election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan kicked off on Friday with four contenders vying to succeed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as the leader of the party and government.

The four candidates running in the LDP’s leadership election include former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, current minister of administrative and regulatory reform, Taro Kono, and former interior and communications ministers, Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda respectively.

The internal elections of the LDP, scheduled for Sep. 29, will take place as planned at the end of the mandate of the current party leader, Suga, who took over from Shinzo Abe a year ago on Sep. 16, 2020 after his resignation due to health reasons.

Suga, whose public approval rating has sunk in recent months as a result of his handling of the coronavirus epidemic, announced earlier this month that he would not run for re-election as leader of the ruling party, effectively announcing his resignation.

In Japan, the leader of the most-voted-for political party holds the post of prime minister. This means that, in practice, the new leader of the LDP elected at the end of the month will become the head of government until the next general elections are held.

The four-year term for House of Representatives members comes to an end on Oct. 21 and the next general elections to elect the country’s next prime minister must be convened by Nov. 28 at the latest.

The campaign is expected to focus on Covid-19 measures and how to return the country’s healthcare system and economy to normal amid the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

The candidates have already outlined some of their proposals in social, defense and foreign affairs issues, which they will detail in the coming hours, when they deliver their political speeches before holding a joint press conference.

The LDP lawmakers will cast 383 votes in the election while another 383 will be cast across the country’s 47 prefecture for a total of 766 votes.

If no candidate secures a simple majority, a runoff between the two most voted candidates will be held. EFE


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