Voting for Shinzo Abe's replacement on September 14
New Delhi : Going by the opinion polls, former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba is the favourite choice to replace Shinzo Abe, who recently announced his retirement citing health issues. The voting for the selection of new leader by LDP is likely to take place on September 14.
As per Japan's political system, the new top leader must be selected from the ruling party. A general election is due by October next year.
Ishiba has about 34 percent of the public's support, more than double the 14 percent for Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the second-most popular choice, a weekend Kyodo News survey showed.
A Nikkei/TV Tokyo poll showed 63-year-old Ishiba with 28 percent support, followed by current Defence Minister Taro Kono with 15 percent. Suga was in fourth place with 11 percent, the poll showed.
Another potential candidate, LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida, who was also foreign minister until 2017 and is said to be favoured by Abe, came in last place in both of the public opinion surveys.
Brad Glosserman, deputy director of the Center for Rule-Making Strategies at Tama University, said Suga was the safe bet in terms of internal LDP dynamics, but might not be so appealing come election time. A general election must be held by late October 2021.
"He doesn't seem to have either the charisma or the vision to push Japan in a new direction. He seems to be the eternal Number Two - he delivers on promises made by his boss," Glosserman said.