Japan’s ruling party to elect new leader next month

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Prime Minister Suga to run for 2nd term as general election nears in Japan

ANKARA (AA) – Political activity is heating up in Japan as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is set to elect its new leader next month, according to media reports.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is currently also the president of the party whose term will end on Sept. 30. He will run for the second term.

The elections come at a time when Suga’s public rating is down largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has battered the country’s health and financial infrastructure of the world’s top third economy.

With a population of over 126 million, Japan has reported 1.34 million COVID-19 cases, including 15,693 deaths.

Besides, the general elections are also round the corner as the term of the Japanese parliament’s lower house ends on Oct. 21.

Toshihiro Nikai, who is number two in the LDP, met Suga on Wednesday.

Nikai assured his support to the premier for re-election, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported. Besides, the LDP parliamentary affairs chief, Hiroshi Moriyama, has also backed Suga for re-election.

The campaigning for the election will begin on Sept. 17 while voting will be held on Sept. 29.

“As the coronavirus continues to spread, it is extremely important to secure hospital beds. We talked about the government and the party working together in efforts to secure beds,” Suga told journalists after his meeting with Nikai.

Suga succeeded former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the LDP chief after he stepped down last year due to health reasons.

Japan may go to general elections not beyond Nov. 28 – 40 days after the parliament’s term ends.

However, the premier can dissolve the lower house for a snap election which may not be possible until he earns back party leadership.

Suga may also like the parliament to run its full term and call elections within 40 days after Oct. 21.

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