PLD election in Japan: Fumio Kishida could become next prime minister after winning leadership vote
In a speech after his victory, Kishida said he would “start running at full speed” to work towards “a bright future for Japan”.
“Japan’s national crisis will continue. We must continue our efforts with desperate determination to take action against Covid-19,” Kishida said in his speech on Wednesday.
“In addition, we must resolutely develop economies of scale of several tens of trillions by the end of the year,” he added. “Beyond that, there are many important issues related to the future of Japan, such as the new capitalism, the achievement of a free and open Indo-Pacific and measures against the falling birth rate.”
The LDP leadership race has been the most unpredictable in decades, and none of the four candidates – Kishida, Vaccine Minister Taro Kono, Home Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi and House of Representatives Member Seiko Noda – n ‘obtained a majority in the initial vote.
After the second round, Kishida received a total of 257 votes – from 249 members of parliament and eight grassroots members – to defeat Kono, who obtained a total of 170 votes.
Abe, whose second term lasted eight years, resigned last September due to health concerns.
Analysts say Kishida is seen as a consensus builder who represents stability. This was his second candidacy to become leader of the LDP.
“The Japanese think about stability and preventing radical change. Kishida stands for (sustainability) and stability,” said Stephen Nagy, professor of international relations at Tokyo International Christian University, adding that Japanese CEOs consider Kishida as the most favorable choice.
Kishida campaigned to close the income gap, claiming that Abe’s eponymous economic policies – known as “Abenomics” – failed to “trickle down” from the rich to the poor. He said nuclear power should be seen as a clean energy option and offered a strong economic stimulus package.
Analysts say the question now is whether Kishida will be a lasting leader or whether Japan will return to a period of political instability similar to that of the pre-Abe era.
“Whether you like Abe or not, he’s had eight years in power to fine-tune policies. We’ve seen positive changes in corporate governance, women in the economy, migration policy, but that’s because that they’ve been pushed over time, ”Nagy said. . “Will it be a revolving door of a prime minister, or will it be a leader in power for four to five years who can make all of these changes?” “
Kishida won the second round against Kono, 58, the popular Japanese vaccine minister who also served as the country’s foreign and defense minister.
While historic that two female candidates – Takiichi, 60, and Noda, 61 – stood for the LDP election, neither garnered enough support to become Japan’s first female prime minister.
CNN’s Chandler Thornton contributed reporting.