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.

With this method, the race will be decided by whoever wins the majority of 535 ballots from among 394 Diet members and 141 representatives from across the country's 47 prefectures. The process eviscerates any influence from eligible non-Diet members, who would have equal power, with their own 394 votes, if the leadership election were to be conducted according to the procedure for general circumstances.