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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party set the stage Tuesday for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s re-election as party leader by formally deciding to move its presidential race from September to this month.

The plan, proposed by senior party officials Monday, was approved by the party’s election committee and decision-making General Council in separate morning meetings, LDP officials said.

Under the plan, Koizumi will receive a full two-year term at a meeting of party members from Diet chambers on Aug. 10 if no one challenges him by the preceding day.

The Aug. 10 meeting will be held instead of an LDP presidential race that was initially expected to take place when Koizumi’s term expires in September, the officials said.

Koizumi took over the helm of the LDP in late April and is serving out the remainder of the term of his predecessor, Yoshiro Mori.

No contender is expected after Koizumi led the LDP and its two coalition partners — New Komeito and the New Conservative Party — to a solid victory in Sunday’s House of Councilors election.

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