LDP to Elect New Chief to Succeed Abe by Sept. 15


Tokyo, Aug. 27 (Jiji Press)--Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party plans to hold an election to pick its next president by Sept. 15, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared Friday that he is stepping down over health reasons, party sources said.

The party hopes to launch a new administration by the end of next month.

With the resignation of Abe, 65, before the end of his tenure as LDP president in September next year, a key issue is whether the some one million rank-and-file party members will participate in the election to replace him. Party executives are negative about having such members vote in the poll this time.

LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida, 63, and former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, 63, are expected to stand as candidates. "I remain determined" to run in the race, Kishida told reporters in the central Japan city of Niigata on Friday. Ishiba said on in a television program, "It's almost impossible for me not to stand in the election."

Some are calling for Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, a core member of the Abe government, to run in the race. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, 64, and Defense Minister Taro Kono, 57, are also considered potential candidates.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press