Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cruised to victory in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership election Sept. 20, securing a historic third straight term that will effectively extend his time in power by another three years.
Abe comfortably beat his only contender, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, securing 553 votes out of a total 807. He won 329 out of the 402 valid ballots cast by LDP members of the Diet, and 224 out of the remaining 405 votes allocated to the LDP’s prefectural chapters based on the number of members age 18 or older who have paid party fees.
Despite his effort, Ishiba only won 181 regional votes — or 44.6 percent of the total cast by prefectural branches — holding the Abe campaign just barely over its self-imposed goal of winning 55 percent of such votes. Seventy-three LDP lawmakers voted for Ishiba.
Abe’s third straight term as leader of the LDP opens up the possibility that he may become the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history. (The Japan Times)