Japan’s ruling party will hold its leadership race on Monday to elect the successor of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced his resignation due to health issues in late August.
Japan’s government spokesman Yoshihide Suga, former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba and former foreign minister Fumio Kishida are vying to succeed Abe as the leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
The winner will almost certainly become the next prime minister, since the party controls the powerful lower house.
An extraordinary parliamentary session will be convened on Wednesday to nominate the country’s new prime minister as Abe officially quits his job as premier.
Analysts and Japanese media expect Suga, who has served as chief cabinet secretary under Abe, to win the race to succeed him.
Japan’s new prime minister will take on the role as the country faces a historic recession and the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as China’s military buildup and the North Korean nuclear and missile threat.
In August, Abe was diagnosed with a recurrence of an intestinal illness called ulcerative colitis.
In July 2007, the disease forced Abe to abruptly quit as prime minister only one year into the job. He returned to power in 2012.