NHK reported that the LDP has decided to exclude rank-and-file members from the upcoming party presidential election and instead hold a joint plenary meeting of party members of both chambers to select Abe’s successor. The network said senior LDP members, including Secretary General Nikai, proposed holding a scaled-down version of the election in view of the need to swiftly launch a new administration amid the coronavirus pandemic. Although some members reportedly welcomed the proposal, others stressed the need for the views of the rank-and-file members to be reflected in the election. Party executives eventually decided to hold a scaled-down version of the election while asking each prefectural chapter to hold preliminary votes in order to reflect the views of rank-and-file members. Prefectural representatives will cast ballots according to the results of the preliminary voting. According to the network, the candidates will compete for 535 votes: 394 from the Diet members and 141 from representatives of the 47 prefectures. The network said the election campaign is likely to kick off on Sept. 8 and the voting will probably take place on Sept. 14.