Known to be soft-spoken and moderate, Mr Kishida will be tasked with calling an election by 28 November
Japan’s ruling party has declared former foreign minister Fumio Kishida as the winner of its leadership election, leaving him poised to become the country’s next prime minister when Yoshihide Suga steps down on Monday.
Mr Kishida has won the governing party’s leadership election after defeating the country’s current vaccinations minister Taro Kono in a tightly fought contest.
The new leader of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party secured 257 votes against Mr Kono’s 170 in the final run-off round of the election. Mr Kishida is now certain to be elected the next prime minister on Monday in parliament, where his party and a coalition partner control the house.
Known to be soft-spoken and moderate, Mr Kishida will also be tasked with calling an election by 28 November to seek his own mandate from the public, and will have to rebuild a Japanese economy battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 64-year-old Mr Kishida is a former banker from Hiroshima and is known for spearheading US president Barack Obama’s historic visit to Japan in 2016 to condemn the deadly US atomic bomb attacks of 1945.
The outgoing prime minister Mr Suga announced his decision to step down this month, completing just a year in office as his popularity took a hit during the pandemic.