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The Liberal Democratic Party’s Diet members and prefectural branch representatives have elected Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, former chief Cabinet secretary of the Koizumi administration, as their new president, ending the political vacuum caused by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s sudden resignation. The greatest task of Mr. Fukuda, who will become prime minister, is to regain the people’s trust in politics and to reconstruct the LDP, which suffered a devastating defeat in the July 29 Upper House election and ceded control of the chamber to the opposition.

The defeat in the Upper House election is an important reminder that Mr. Fukuda must carefully consider the party and the government’s policy orientation. The election result indicated that voters were apprehensive about problems that directly affect their lives such as the pension scheme, social welfare, and the economic gap between rich and poor and between urban and rural areas. Voters were not attracted by Mr. Abe’s ideology-oriented conservative and nationalistic political agenda.

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