Nearly 4 in 5 Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers plan to vote for Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in its presidential election next week, a Kyodo News survey found Wednesday, keeping him in pole position to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The other candidates, former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, are in a close race for second place in the election to be held Monday following Abe's abrupt announcement in late August of his resignation for health reasons.

The winner is all but certain to be named the next prime minister at an extraordinary Diet session on Sept. 16.