All national dailies reported extensively on the election of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as the new president of the ruling LDP on Monday. Suga is now set to be elected as prime minister of Japan at an extraordinary Diet session on Wednesday. Suga won 377 of the 534 votes from LDP lawmakers and delegates of local chapters. LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Kishida won 89 votes and former LDP Secretary General Ishiba won 68. Suga’s term as LDP president is limited to the remainder of Prime Minister Abe’s current three-year term through September 2021. The papers speculated that Suga will keep LDP Secretary General Nikai and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aso in their current posts.
At a news conference held after the leadership election, Suga vowed to focus on dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and promoting government reforms and deregulation rather than calling a snap general election, stressing that he will create a cabinet that works for the people. Suga said he believes that what the people expect of him is to bring the coronavirus under control and get the Japanese economy back on track. He also reportedly said he will choose ministers for his cabinet who share his policy goals, are eager to implement reform, and can get things done.
Asahi and Yomiuri wrote that although Suga expressed a negative view about dissolving the Lower House for a snap general election at an early date, there is strong hope among LDP lawmakers that an election will be held immediately after the launch of the new cabinet to ask the people to pass judgment on it. According to Sankei, Aso said on Monday during a speech in Niigata that it is possible that a general election will be held soon under the new prime minister.