The Social Democratic Party elected Mizuho Fukushima as its new leader at a party convention on Saturday, placing her back in the top position after a previous stint from 2003 to 2013.
Fukushima’s leadership will be tested during her two-year term at a time when the SDP has been facing a prolonged slump.
Fukushima is widely regarded to be cautious about a proposed merger with the major opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
At the day’s meeting, Fukushima was elected in an uncontested party leadership vote held in line with the expiration on Sunday of the term of her predecessor, Seiji Mataichi.
“I will work hard for the public by giving a boost to the SDP,” Fukushima told reporters.
She also said she will carefully listen to the views of party members about the possible integration with the CDP.
The lawyer-turned-politician has been elected to the House of Councilors, the upper chamber of the Diet, four times. She quit as chief of the SDP to take the blame for the party’s poor performance in the 2013 Upper House election. She later took the post of the party’s deputy chief.
At the party convention on Sunday, the SDP is slated to adopt a policy of trying to win five seats and at least 3 percent of votes in the next election for the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of the Diet.
The party is also expected to confirm a policy of launching active intraparty discussions on the merger proposal made by the CDP.
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