Yoshihide Suga, a loyal aide to outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, won a landslide victory in a ruling party leadership election Monday — all but assuring he will become the new prime minister when a parliamentary election is held later in the week.
The 71-year-old chief Cabinet secretary — who has said he would pursue Abe’s major economic and foreign policies — won 377 votes out of 534 votes cast, and 535 possible votes, in the Liberal Democratic Party election, according to Reuters.
Rival Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister, won 68 votes, while former foreign minister Fumio Kishida got 89.
Suga is a virtual shoo-in to be elected prime minister in a parliamentary vote Wednesday because of the LDP’s majority in the lower house. He will serve out Abe’s term as party leader through September 2021.
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving premier, said last month that he would step down after nearly eight years in office because of ill