Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was elected as the new president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Monday at a joint plenary meeting of party members from both houses of the Diet and delegates from local chapters.
At the joint plenary meeting, Suga won 377 votes while the other two contenders, Fumio Kishida and Shigeru Ishiba gained 89 and 68 votes, respectively. Suga is virtually assured of becoming the next prime minister due to the LDP’s dominance in both chambers of Japan’s bicameral parliament.
The election was triggered by Shinzo Abe’s abrupt announcement late last month that he was stepping down due to a recurrent health issue that also brought his first tenure as prime minister to an abrupt end in 2007.
Suga, who has been one of Abe’s closest confidants for almost eight years, has promised to continue with Abe’s economic policies and approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Abe’s presidentship of the main ruling LDP was set to run out in September 2021.