National / Politics

LDP heavyweight Nikai backs Abe for third term as ruling party chief

Kyodo

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai has expressed support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe serving a third term as party president, while also ruling out a general election in the near future.

In an interview Sunday, Nikai said he will support Abe if he runs in the LDP presidential race this fall, citing the prime minister’s high international credibility.

“It will be just fine for him to serve a long period of time as (party) president,” the veteran lawmaker said.

On the prospects of Abe dissolving the Lower House for a snap election, Nikai was dismissive.

“We have a lot of work to be done,” he said.

The LDP, which forms the ruling coalition with junior partner Komeito, is set to change an in-house rule at its party convention in March to allow the party president to serve a third term or up to nine years.

If it passes, that means Abe, who assumed the LDP presidency in 2012, would likely seek a third term.

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