Former Foreign Minister Japan Fumio Kishida, 64, was elected head of the country’s ruling party on Wednesday (29) and is expected to become the country’s prime minister next week.
Kishida is considered a moderate politician. He won the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) presidential race by defeating a more famous opponent: Taro Kono, 58, who coordinated the country’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
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The current Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, I decided not to apply To the PLD vote, an acronym that has dominated Japanese political life since 1955.
Kishida is expected to be appointed prime minister on October 4, after a vote in parliament, where the LDP has a majority. In November, there will be legislative elections (PLD is preferred).
Kishida declared after his victory that “we must show the public that the LDP has resurrected and needs their support” for this election for both houses of parliament. “We are going to the elections together,” he said.
Kishida was Japan’s foreign minister from 2012 to 2017. He is the heir to a family of politicians. In 2020, he ran against Suga and lost. He was the first to declare himself a candidate in this year’s elections.
By highlighting his listening skills and inviting the Japanese to share their claims and ideas with him, Kishida sought to capitalize on public discontent with managing the health crisis, which had undermined the popularity of the Suga government.
A macho political tradition
The first round of the Democratic Labor Party’s internal elections is approaching. Kishida preceded Kono by only one vote. The ultra-conservative candidate, Sana Takaichi, with the support of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, scored well.
Two women were among the four competing candidates, which is unusual in a country where there has never been a prime minister, and where there are only a few prominent women in political life.
On the other hand, Kishida won in the second round, a vote in which the representatives of the Democratic Liberation Party carried much more weight than the members of the main party, receiving 257 votes, compared to 170 for Kono, a favorite of the general public, according to opinion polls.
“The prospect of Kono winning frightens people within the LDP,” said Brad Glosserman, an expert on Japanese politics and a professor at Tama University. “Some have been disturbed by some of his positions on China and the fact that he would be willing to do anything to ensure independence from the United States,” he added.
Kishida “now has to prove he’s not the same” he lost last year, according to Glosserman.
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