World

Japan’s Suga wins party leadership, cautious about snap election

TOKYO: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga won a landslide victory in a ruling party leadership election yesterday, paving the way for Japan's first leadership change in nearly eight years.

Mr Suga, 71, who has promised to continue outgoing prime minister Shinzo Abe's key policies, said his big win would give him the backing to pursue his reform goals - including deregulation and breaking down bureaucratic silos.

"As I got big support in numbers today, the environment in which I can pursue my policy agenda in a stable manner has been secured," Mr Suga said.

He won 377 votes out of 534 cast in the leadership election by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Members of Parliament and representatives of its 47 local chapters.

Mr Suga is virtually certain to be elected prime minister in a parliamentary vote tomorrow because of the LDP's majority in the lower house.

Speculation is swirling that Mr Suga will soon call an election for Parliament's lower house to boost his chances of winning a full three-year term as LDP chief next year.

Yesterday, however, he sounded a cautious note.

"What's important now is to contain the pandemic while also reviving the economy. I don't think we can immediately (dissolve the lower house) just because the pandemic is contained," he said." - REUTERS

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