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Yoshihide Suga to become new Japanese PM

YOSHIHIDE SUGA is set to become Japanese prime minister after being elected to the presidency of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) by a large margin yesterday.

He will face a vote in the Japanese parliament tomorrow that is likely to be a formality and take over from Shinzo Abe, who resigned as prime minister last month on health grounds.

Mr Suga, chief cabinet secretary in the current administration, was the favourite to win, being seen as the candidate who could provide stability by the party’s MPs and regional representatives.

He took 377 out of a total of 534 votes, finishing ahead of former foreign minister Fumio Kishida and former LDP secretary-general and defence minister Shigeru Ishiba.

New elections for Japan’s lower house, the diet, are scheduled for September 2021. Mr Suga is expected to lead an interim government until that time.

It is widely believed that Mr Suga could face a leadership challenge to take the LDP into the general election with a fresh face.

The country was already facing an economic slump before the Covid-19 pandemic, which has worsened the situation.

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