Fumio Kishida has won the leadership election for Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), putting him on track to become the country’s next prime minister.
Mr Kishida will take over from Yoshihide Suga, who resigned after only one year in office.
His first task as PM will be to lead the LDP to victory in the next general election.
After pushing to hold the Tokyo Olympics against public resistance, the party’s popularity plummeted.
Mr. Kishida, a former foreign minister, triumphed against Taro Kono, who was largely considered as the most popular candidate.
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Mr Kishida had long aspired to be Prime Minister, but was defeated by Mr Suga in last year’s election.
The incoming prime minister will have to deal with a number of difficult challenges, including post-pandemic economic recovery and dealing with North Korean threats.
He has also advocated for the creation of a “health crisis management agency” to deal with the epidemic.
Mr. Suga chose to resign as prime minister after a year in power, citing declining poll ratings as a result of the pandemic’s handling.