Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will resign this month, he will not run for re-election as party leader this month.
In light of the Suga cabinet’s slumping approval rating – down to a low of 34% in the latest Nikkei poll – there have been widespread worries in the party that it would lose the lower house election without a change of prime minister.
Suga came to office last year, tooking over Shinzo abe who resigned over health issues. Suga announced his intention to resign at an emergency meeting of senior members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Toshihiro Nikai told reporters.
“Today at the executive meeting, (party) president Suga said he wants to focus his efforts on anti-coronavirus measures and will not run in the leadership election,” Nikai said.
“Honestly, I’m surprised. It’s truly regrettable. He did his best but after careful consideration, he made this decision,” he added.
The LDP plans to start its presidential campaign on Sept. 17 and vote on Sept. 29.
This would install a new face as a leader who will face the lower house election expected in October or November.
One contender is Fumio Kishida, a former LDP policy chief who has announced that he will run. Ex-Internal Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi is also reportedly eager to enter the fray.