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Survey: Abe set to win nearly 90% of Diet member votes in LDP presidential election

  • September 6, 2018
  • , Sankei , Lead story
  • JMH Translation
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The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election will be held on Sept. 20, with official campaigning starting on Sept. 7. Sankei Shimbun’s survey of 405 eligible LDP Diet members shows that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (LDP president) has secured the support of 345, or nearly 90%, of the lawmakers, enjoying an overwhelming lead over former Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba, who has the support of only 50 Diet members. Abe is also expected to win around 60% of votes by rank-and-file party members and supporters, which carry the same weight as the lawmakers’ votes. This means that Abe is practically certain to be elected for a third term as LDP president.


Of the seven factions in the party, Abe has secured the support of five factions: the Hosoda (94 members), Aso (59 members), Kishida (48 members), Nikai (44 members), and Ishihara (12 members).


Even in the Takeshita faction (55 members), which is allowing its members to vote for either candidate, Abe has won the support of 26 out of its 34 members in the House of Representatives, including Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Katsunobu Kato, and 3 out of its 21 members in the House of Councillors, including State Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahisa Sato.


The Abe camp is also courting the 73 Diet members not belonging to any faction. In addition to National Public Safety Commission Chair Hachiro Okonogi and other lawmakers close to Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Seiko Noda, a majority of junior Diet members close to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga have also been won over. Former Olympics Minister Toshiaki Endo and Lower House member Yasuhiro Ozato from the Tanigaki group (around 20 members) are also supporting Abe.


Ishiba’s support base consists of the Ishiba faction (20 members), and four Upper House members of the Takeshita faction led by Hiromi Yoshida, LDP secretary general in the Upper House. Wataru Takeshita, chairman of the Takeshita faction, former Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Yuko Obuchi, and two other Lower House members of the faction are also supporting Ishiba, who has also won the support of former Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, secretary general of the Tanigaki group, and one other group member.


Ten lawmakers are still undecided on whom they will support, including Chief Deputy Secretary General Shinjiro Koizumi and five others unaffiliated to any faction. Koizumi does not intend to reveal who he is voting for until Sept. 20, while most members of a group of junior and mid-ranking lawmakers close to him called “Team Koizumi” will follow their factions’ decision to support Abe. Of the four undecided Takeshita faction members, three are leaning toward supporting Ishiba. (Abridged)

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