Japan’s ruling party is voting for a new leader who will almost certainly become the next prime minister, after incumbent Yoshihide Suga announced he was stepping down after just a year in the job.
None of the four candidates, who include two women, won a majority in Wednesday’s initial vote to head the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
A runoff will now be held between the top contenders, Fumio Kishida, 64, a former foreign minister and a consensus-builder saddled with a bland image, and Taro Kono, the 58-year-old vaccines minister who is seen as something of a maverick and who previously held the positions of defence and foreign minister.
Kishida got 256 votes, while Kono received 255.
The initial vote involved 382 LDP legislators and an equal number of rank-and-file party members.
The second round involves the legislators and one party representative from each of Japan’s 47 regions. The winner will need to secure 215 votes…