Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is vying for his third re-election as the ruling party leader next week, extending his stay in power to work on his long-cherished ambition — to revise his country’s war-renouncing constitution.
Abe reportedly has already secured about 70 percent of support from parliamentarians of the Liberal Democratic Party, and clinching the re-election would allow him up to three more years to work on a possible charter change. He has to tackle the economy and other priorities too.
Associated Press reported that, he faced his only challenger, Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister, during Friday’s debate, which could be the only public discussion before the Sept. 20 vote.
“I will take on the task of revising the constitution, a postwar challenge that has never been achieved, in order to open a new era,” Abe told the nationally televised event.
The 63 year-old Abe, prime minister since December 2012, is poised to become Japan’s longest-serving leader with a historic third term.
He reportedly has the support of least five main factions of the Liberal Democrats, securing some 300 of the 405 votes, as well as many others among local party members. With Abe’s victory widely expected, the main focus has shifted to who would get key party posts and a Cabinet lineup, or his possible successor