Yoshihide Suga elected by lawmakers to be the new Prime Minister of Japan to succeed Shinzo Abe

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16th September 2020 – (Tokyo) After a voting process has completed in the Upper House of the National Diet in Japan this morning, Yoshihide Suga was elected by the lawmakers as the 99th Prime Minister of Japan. Suga is the first new prime minister of the Reiwa era.

Last month, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the country’s longest-serving leader, resigned from his position citing health reasons. On Monday, Japan’s longest-serving Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was elected president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ensuring his place as Abe’s successor.

He has represented the Kanagawa 2nd district in the House of Representatives since 1996. He served as Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications during Shinzo Abe‘s first tenure as Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007, and as Chief Cabinet Secretary during Abe’s second tenure from 2012 to 2020. His tenure as Chief Cabinet Secretary was the longest in Japanese history. Suga announced his candidacy in the 2020 LDP leadership election following Abe’s resignation announcement, and was widely considered the frontrunner to succeed Abe as prime minister, having secured endorsements from a majority of voting members in the party in advance of the election.

Since 1947, the Prime Minister has been chosen in the “designation election of the prime minister” in the National Diet. It is held after a cabinet has submitted its resignation, the outgoing cabinet remains as caretaker cabinet until the Imperial inauguration ceremony of a new prime minister, a cabinet must resign en masse under the constitution (Articles 69 and 70).

Though both Houses of the Diet vote in two-round elections to select a prime minister, the House of Representatives has the decisive vote: If the two Houses vote for different candidates (as they did in 1948, 1989, 1998, 2007 and 2008), a procedure in the joint committee of both houses may reach a consensus; but eventually the candidate of the House of Representatives becomes that of the whole Diet and thereby prime minister-designate. The designated prime minister must still be ceremonially appointed by the Emperor in the Imperial Investiture  to enter office; but unlike some heads of state, the Emperor has no reserve power to appoint anyone other than the person elected by the Diet.

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