Suga elected Japan's prime minister

Suga elected Japan's prime minister

The new leader of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, Yoshihide Suga (standing), is applauded by outgoing prime minister Shinzo Abe(left) and other government officials after he was elected prime minister by the Lower House of parliament in Tokyo on Wednesday.(Photo: AFP)
The new leader of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, Yoshihide Suga (standing), is applauded by outgoing prime minister Shinzo Abe(left) and other government officials after he was elected prime minister by the Lower House of parliament in Tokyo on Wednesday.(Photo: AFP)

TOKYO: The Japanese parliament on Wednesday elected Yoshihide Suga prime minister, with the former chief cabinet secretary expected to stick closely to policies championed by Shinzo Abe during his record-breaking tenure.

Suga, 71, won an easy victory, taking 314 votes of 462 valid ballots cast in the lower house of parliament, where his ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds a commanding majority.

He bowed deeply as lawmakers applauded following the announcement, but made no immediate comment.

"According to the results, our house has decided to name Yoshihide Suga prime minister," lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima announced after the votes were counted. 

Suga is expected to announce his cabinet later Wednesday, with local media reporting he will retain a number of ministers from Abe's last government.

Suga, who on Monday was elected leader of the LDP, is viewed as a continuity candidate and has said his run was inspired by a desire to pursue Abe's policies.

Abe, who resigned earlier Wednesday along with his cabinet, is ending his record run in office with a year left in his mandate. 

He was forced out by a recurrence of ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease that has long plagued him. 

Suga has spent decades in politics -- most recently as chief cabinet secretary, where he was known for pushing government policies through a sometimes intractable bureaucracy.

He has also been the face of the government, doggedly defending its policies as spokesman, including in sometimes testy exchanges with journalists.


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