The former LDP Policy Research Council chairperson earned 257 votes in a runoff to defeat Taro Kono, the administrative and regulatory reform minister, who won 170 votes.
The LDP election was held after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s announcement he would not seek reelection to lead the ruling party.
In the first round, four candidates vied for 764 votes, half from Diet members and half based on votes from rank-and-file members and members of affiliated groups.
Kishida finished in the top spot with 256 votes, while Kono, 58, earned the second-most ballots with 255. They were followed by former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi with 188 and LDP Executive Acting Secretary General Seiko Noda with 63.
As none of the four won a majority, Kishida and Kono participated in a runoff that involved 382 votes from Diet members and one vote from each of the LDP’s 47 prefectural chapters.
Many lawmakers who supported Takaichi in the first round likely voted for Kishida in the runoff.
During the campaign, Kishida stressed his commitment to party reform. He pledged to “restore political confidence by listening to the voices of the people,” through such means as placing term limits on the party’s executive posts.
Kishida served as foreign minister for four years and seven months in the second administration of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, giving him the second-longest tenure of a postwar foreign minister after former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida. In last year’s presidential election, Kishida earned the second-most votes after Suga.
Once appointed, Kishida will be the 100th prime minister. The ordinal numbers used in the official counting of prime ministers are based on the term between the person being appointed as prime minister to form a cabinet and their resignation. Therefore, the number increases each time a “new” prime minister takes office, even if the same person assumes the post on multiple occasions. For this reason, the ordinal number is higher than the actual number of individuals who have served as prime minister.
Published : September 30, 2021