Japan: Yoshihide Suga wins ruling party leadership polls, set to succeed Shinzo Abe as Prime Minister
Japan`s Yoshihide Suga, a long-time ally of outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership election on Monday, paving the way for him to become prime minister in a parliamentary vote this week.by DNA Web Team
Japan`s Yoshihide Suga, a long-time ally of outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership election on Monday, paving the way for him to become prime minister in a parliamentary vote this week.
Suga, 71, who served in the powerful post of chief cabinet secretary during Abe`s nearly eight-year tenure, has said he will pursue his predecessor`s "Abenomics" recipe of hyper-easy monetary policy, government spending, and reform and follow a diplomatic line centered on the U.S.-Japan security alliance.
Suga was on track to win over 70% of the MPs` votes and was leading among local chapters, public broadcaster NHK had reported earlier.
The winner of the LDP race is virtually certain to be elected prime minister in a parliamentary vote on Wednesday because of the LDP`s majority in the lower house. He will serve out Abe`s term as party leader through September 2021.
Abe, Japan`s longest-serving premier, said last month he would quit due to ill health, ending a nearly eight-year term.
Suga, whose resume is thin on diplomatic experience, faces geopolitical challenges such as building ties with the winner of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election and balancing concern over China`s maritime aggressiveness with bilateral economic interdependence.
Speculation is simmering that Suga will call a snap election for parliament`s lower house as soon as next month to boost his chances of winning a full three-year term as LDP chief next year. A vote for the lower chamber must be held by late October 2021.
Suga, the son of a strawberry farmer from northern Japan who got his start in politics as a local assemblyman, has since 2012 held the key post of chief cabinet secretary, acting as Abe`s top government spokesman, coordinating policies and keeping bureaucrats in line.
He has the image as more of a behind-the-scenes operator than a frontline leader but rose in opinion polls after he announced his candidacy to succeed Abe. He won support from most LDP factions, outpacing his rivals including former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba and ex-foreign minister Fumio Kishida.
(With Reuters inputs)