Who is the new leader of the ruling party of Japan?
TOKYO – In a victory for elite power brokers over public sentiment, Japan’s governing party on Wednesday selected former foreign minister Fumio Kishida as its pick for the next prime minister.
In a run-off election for the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party, by choosing Mr. Kishida, 64, a moderate party veteran, the party’s elite disregarded the public’s preferences and chose a candidate who found itself out of the unpopular departure prime. offered to separate. Minister, Yoshihide Suga.
Wednesday’s leadership election was the hottest contest in years. While party leaders usually gather around a candidate, this time it was unclear whether Kishida would prevail until the second round of ballots were counted at a luxury hotel in Tokyo.
Mr. Kishida defeated his main rival, Taro Kono, an outspoken American-educated vagabond, 257 to 170, in a runoff vote dominated by the party’s members of parliament.
Neither the public nor the simple members of the party showed much support for Mr. Kishida. But the conservative wing of the party, which dominates parliament, preferred Mr. Kishida to Mr. Kono, 58, the minister in charge of Japan’s vaccine rollout.
Japan’s parliament will hold a special session early next month to officially select the new prime minister. Given that the Liberal Democrats control the legislature, Kishida’s appointment is guaranteed. He will also lead the party in a general election which should take place no later than the end of November.
By going with the safe pair, the party seemed to be demonstrating its belief that it could win the fall elections, despite electing a leader with weak public support.
After a year when voters became increasingly frustrated with the government’s handling of the pandemic and its associated economic crisis, the party is relying on the weakness of the opposition and the public’s tolerance for the status quo.
During the campaign, Mr. Kishida appeared to acknowledge some public discontent as he promised to launch a “new capitalism” and encourage companies to distribute as much of their profits to middle-class workers.
In doing so, he is following a familiar template within the Liberal Democratic Party, which specializes in adopting policies first introduced by the opposition to keep voters confident.
The election of the party leadership was remarkable in that it was the first time that two women had contested for the top post. Sane Takaichi, 60, a staunch conservative, eliminated Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, and Seiko Noda, 61, a left-wing lawmaker who called for more rights for women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Gaya. in the first round.
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