Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has once again ruled out a snap election before year-end as he faces record low popularity ratings and growing criticism within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party over his leadership.

“I’m single-mindedly devoted to making efforts on issues that can’t be put off, starting with economic policy. I’m not thinking about anything else,” the prime minister told reporters Thursday.

The remarks come amid recent political setbacks and media speculation that the unpopular Kishida may still call a snap election early next year, well before his term as LDP president expires in September — in the hope of reviving his flagging fortunes and to stave off potential successors to the top party post as well as the prime minister’s seat.