Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and the No. 2 man of his Liberal Democratic Party agreed Wednesday to hold the party’s long-awaited presidential election before Golden Week, which begins at the end of the month.
A specific date for electing Mori’s successor was not established, but the LDP is trying to set it around April 23, with a new Cabinet expected to be formed as early as April 26, party sources said.
During a one-on-one meeting Wednesday, Mori told LDP Secretary General Makoto Koga to “immediately” prepare for the election and assemble the election committee to discuss a date, Koga said.
The new LDP president will be named prime minister because of the LDP-led coalition’s majority in the Diet.
Mori and Koga also agreed to increase the voting power of the LDP’s local chapters. This will be done by giving each chapter three votes instead of one.
The two LDP leaders also agreed that the term of the next president will end Sept. 30, which was supposed to be the end of Mori’s term.
But if the party wins big in an Upper House election slated for July, the president will most likely stay beyond September, Koga said.
Many local LDP chapters are planning to hold a primary to reflect the opinions of its members.
The party will hold a nationwide meeting Tuesday of its secretaries general to officially decide how it will hold the leadership race.
The April 27 deadline was approved by the party’s five top-ranking lawmakers, including LDP policy chief Shizuka Kamei and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki.
LDP executives are also considering cutting the number of proposers needed by a prospective candidate to run for the presidency from 30 to 20, party sources said.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Mori did not explicitly state an intention to resign, but suggested he would not run in the LDP presidential race, Koga said.
The Social Democratic Party has said that it may boycott Diet proceedings once Mori officially announces his intention to resign.
Mori effectively announced his intention to step down last month by saying he would move forward the schedule of the party’s presidential election from September to an earlier date.
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