Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has elected 64-year-old Fumio Kishida as the party’s 27th leader in a leadership election held on 29 September, paving the way for him to become the nation’s next Prime Minister.
Kishida won the most votes in the first round of party voting but as he did not reach a majority, there was a run-off with second placed Taro Kono (58) in which Kishida emerged victorious.
It is expected that Kishida will be nominated as the 100th prime minister in an extraordinary session of the Diet on 4 October.
Although it was expected that whoever prevailed in the LDP’s leadership race would continue supporting the party’s IR policies, Kishida has previously played a key role in pushing such policy through and was involved in compiling and enacting the IR Implementation Bill in 2018.
Kishida received 256 votes in the first round of voting, followed by Kono with 255 votes. Sanae Takaichi received 188 votes and Seiko Noda received 63 votes. No one obtained a majority of the combined total diet member votes and party member votes so there was a run-off between the top two candidates.
The final vote total was 429 votes with 382 votes for each member of the Diet and 47 votes reflected the party member vote representing each prefecture.
The Sankei Shimbun reported on the day of the vote that if either Kishida or Takaichi were facing Kono in the run-off, their supporters would cooperate. Accordingly, most of Takaichi’s votes passed to Kishida in the second round.
In the final count, Kishida had 249 diet member votes and 8 prefectural votes for a total of 257 votes. Kono had 131 diet member votes and 39 prefectural votes for a total of 170.
At a press conference, Kishida said “We must create an atmosphere where we can tackle the national crisis as one team.”
His term as a member of the Diet expires on 21 October and he said the goal of the upcoming House of Representatives election was a majority ruling party.