Japan’s Abe wins party leadership election, to stay as PM

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won comfortable re-election as leader of his ruling party Thursday, setting him on course to become Japan’s longest-serving premier and realise his dream of reforming the constitution.

The 63-year-old conservative secured 553 votes against 254 won by former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba, a hawkish self-confessed “military geek”, in a two-horse race for leader of the Liberal Democratic Party.

The win effectively hands Abe three more years as PM, giving him the chance of breaking the record for the nation’s longest-serving premiership held by Taro Katsura, a revered politician who served three times between 1901 and 1913.

To loud cheers of “banzai” — the Japanese equivalent of “three cheers” — from party members, a grinning Abe said: “The battle is over. Let’s build a new Japan by joining hands and uniting.”

Shinichi Nishikawa, professor of politics at Meiji University in Tokyo, told AFP that the vote was effectively a referendum on Abe’s record that he successfully negotiated.

“But he can’t wholeheartedly welcome the result as he couldn’t win overwhelmingly.”Public support for Abe — a political thoroughbred whose grandfather and father both held power — has recovered after he managed to survive a series of cronyism and cover-up scandals.Reconfirmed in power, Abe will head to New York this weekend to attend the UN General Assembly and hold a summit with US President Donald Trump.Abe and Trump, who enjoy each other’s company on the golf course and are close diplomatic allies, are expected to analyse the latest inter-Korean summit.But they will also have to confront a growing trade dispute as Trump sees Tokyo among “unfair” trade partners.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.