LDP Leadership Race Highly Likely to Go to Runoff

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 23 (Jiji Press)--The four-way leadership election of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, slated for Wednesday, is highly likely to go to a runoff between the top two contenders after an inconclusive first round of voting.

LDP President and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's abrupt decision to step down has thrown the race wide open.

With none of the four candidates expected to gain a majority in the first round, where votes from LDP lawmakers and grassroots party members have equal weight, the top two vote-getters will head into a runoff.

LDP lawmakers are worried that the public may be disappointed if a candidate who garners many votes from rank-and-file members in the first round is defeated in the runoff, where lawmakers' votes have heavier weight and factional backing means a lot.

In such a case, the party will face "payback" in the coming election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Japan's parliament, which needs to be held in the autumn, a young lawmaker said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press