İrem UZUN -TDO- Yoshihide Suga was elected as the new head of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan’s ruling party, on Monday, assuring that he will become the country's new prime minister when a parliamentary election is held later in the week. Suga, has been an important figure in outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration, serving as the government's top spokesperson in his role as chief Cabinet secretary. Suga's victory in LDP vote virtually guarantees his election in a parliamentary vote Wednesday because of the majority held by the LDP's ruling coalition.

The 71-year-old son of a strawberry farmer quickly emerged as the favorite to replace Abe. Promising to form a cabinet that “works for the people”, Suga referred to his background in accepting the party’s nomination as leader, saying he had “started from zero”. “With this background, I was able to become the leader of the Liberal Democratic party, with all its history and tradition,” he said. “I will devote the whole of myself to Japan and the Japanese people.”

Suga has said his top priorities are fighting the coronavirus and turning around an economy battered by the pandemic. He repeatedly has noted achievements under the Abe-led government when asked about various policies. He also will have to decide what to do with the Tokyo Olympics, which were pushed back to next summer due to the coronavirus, and will have to establish a good relationship with whoever wins the U.S. presidential race.

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