Tokyo [Japan], September 9 (ANI/Sputnik): Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he would like to reserve the decision on whom to support in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership race until September 17, when the final list of candidates will be announced and the election campaign will start.
"The candidates have not yet been selected. I would like to make my decision when seventeen candidates are announced," Suga said at a press conference broadcast by Japan Corporation NHK, when asked if he intended to support the candidacy of former Minister for Foreign Affairs and former Minister of Defense, Taro Kono.
Earlier, Kyodo News Agency said that Kono planned to announce his nomination for the LDP presidential election on September 10.
Last week, Suga stated that he would not run for party leader, since he wanted to focus on measures to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Suga's decision to withdraw from the election means the country will have a new prime minister.
The election of the head of the LDP is scheduled for September 29. After that, the candidate must be voted on in the House of Representatives. This is expected to happen on October 4.
To date, only former Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida has officially expressed his desire to run for office. Ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono and former Minister of Defense Shigeru Ishiba are also widely considered as probable candidates.
According to polls, the first position is taken by Taro Kono, followed by Shigeru Ishiba; a distant third place is occupied by Fumio Kishida. Two women -- Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda -- may also run for head of the party.
The head of the LDP is elected by the rank and file members of the party and parliament representatives. Therefore, the opinion of ordinary voters may be taken into account indirectly. However, public trust in Suga and his government plunged by almost 25%, reaching its lowest level. And given that elections to the key lower house of the parliament will take place no later than October 21, the opinion of voters and the results of public polls are likely to be taken into account. (ANI/Sputnik)