09/14/2020, 09.59
JAPAN
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Tokyo: Yoshihide Suga to replace Shinzo Abe at head of government

The outgoing prime minister resigned on August 28 due to health problems. Suga has obtained the support of all the main factions of the Liberal Democratic Party: on September 16 he will be formally elected by Parliament. He promises continuity with Abe's policies. Covid-19 emergency, Olympics, chronic economic stagnation and military defense are the main challenges for the new executive.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Yoshihide Suga will be Shinzo Abe's successor to lead the country. The current cabinet leader of the Abe government won today's vote for the choice of the new president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which controls the two houses of parliament.

On August 28, Abe resigned from his post as prime minister for health reasons. In office since 2012, on August 24, he became the longest uninterrupted prime minister in the country's history. Already at the helm of the government from 2006 to 2007, Abe had left office due to persistent intestinal problems.

394 parliamentarians and 141 local delegates participated in the internal voting of the LDP. Suga, a close ally of Abe, won the support of the main party factions. His rivals, but only on paper, were former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. On September 16, in an extraordinary session of Parliament, the powerful head of cabinet will be elected as the new prime minister: his mandate expires next year.

Suga promised continuity with Abe's policies, including "Abenomics", a  monetary expansion and fiscal stimulus launched - without much success - to lift the country's economy out of chronic stagnation.

The new prime minister will have to deal with the Covid-19 emergency, where Abe's executive has been teh target of criticism, and face the challenge of holding the Olympics, postponed to next summer due to the pandemic. The outgoing premier also bequeathed a controversial proposal to allow the Armed Forces to strike the bases of a foreign power in the event of a missile threat, a provision that many say violates Japan's pacifist constitution.

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