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Japan’s Abe on Track for Extended Term

Japan’s Abe on Track for Extended TermJapan’s Abe on Track for Extended Term

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks well placed to win a September ruling party leadership race, putting the conservative leader on track to become the longest-serving premier despite a challenge by a former defense minister for the party post. Shigeru Ishiba, 61, promising to restore trust in politics, announced his candidacy on Friday for a Liberal Democratic Party presidential election expected on Sept. 20, Cannel News Asia reported. But media surveys suggest Abe, who took office for a second time in December 2012 promising to revive the economy and bolster defense, has already locked in 70% of the 405 votes from LDP members of parliament. Another 405 votes will be apportioned based on votes by rank-and-file party members. If no candidate wins a majority, a second round would be held with 405 votes from MPs and 47 from local party chapters. The winner of the LDP election gets a three-year term and is all but assured of the premiership because of the ruling bloc’s majority in parliament. Ishiba is counting on his grass-roots popularity, but analysts say that is unlikely to offset weak support among MPs.

 

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