Yoshihide Suga has been elected leader of Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), paving the way for him to become the country’s next prime minister.
As expected, Suga easily won Monday’s internal vote to pick a successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced in August that he would step down due to health problems.
Currently the chief cabinet secretary, Suga took 377 of a total of 534 votes against the two other contenders, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
Given the LDP’s legislative majority, Suga is expected to handily win a parliamentary vote on Wednesday.
A powerful government adviser and spokesman, 71-year-old Suga are seen as promising stability and a continuation of Abe’s policies.
He has specifically said his candidacy was motivated by a desire to continue the outgoing prime minister’s programs.
Following his election as an LDP leader, Suga thanked Abe and vowed to push ahead with reforms.
“I was born as the oldest son of a farmer in Akita,” Suga said. “Without any knowledge or blood ties, I launched into the world of politics, starting from zero – and have been able to become the leader of the LDP, with all its traditions and history.”
“I will devote all of myself to work for Japan and its citizens,” he added. Read here