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Abe leading, but may not win “landslide victory” in LDP presidential race

  • September 6, 2018
  • , Mainichi , p. 2
  • JMH Translation
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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 63, is now expected to win more rank-and-file party member votes than former Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election (start of official campaign on Sept. 7, voting on Sept. 20). However, there is persistent concern in the local chapters about the impact of the Moritomo Gakuen and Kake Gakuen affairs. The Abe camp is aiming at winning 70% of party member votes to lay the groundwork for a stable political support base after the election, but it remains uncertain whether this criterion for a “landslide victory” can be achieved.

 

An officer of the Hosoda faction, Abe’s faction, stated on Sept. 5: “We have a sense that we can win over 60% of the party members’ votes, but we would like to do better than that.” If Abe’s performance in terms of party member votes is not as good as in Diet member votes, this would give rise to doubts in the party regarding his suitability to be the party’s “face” in the simultaneous local elections and House of Councillors election next year.

 

On the other hand, Ishiba, who is way behind Abe in Diet members’ votes, is trying to catch up in party member votes. Despite current estimates that Ishiba can only win 30% or so of the votes, an officer of his faction remains optimistic, asserting, “We will be able to win 50% of the votes.” To make up for the small number of Diet members who can campaign for Ishiba, his camp is poised to engage in aggressive messaging through news conferences and media exposure. (Abridged)

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