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The Liberal Democratic Party officially decided Tuesday to bypass votes from rank-and-file members in the race to elect a new party leader, defying pushback from some lawmakers that the process belittles party supporters and is an apparent attempt to sabotage some candidates.

The party’s general council, the highest permanent decision-making body, unanimously approved moving forward the leadership election to replace Prime Minister Shinzo Abe using an approach typically applied in an emergency.

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