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Sat, 07 Oct 2017 12:23 - Updated Sat, 07 Oct 2017 12:23

Tokyo Governor Koike leaves door open for ruling party PM post election

TOKYO - Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike does not expect her new conservative party to pick a candidate for prime minister during the campaign for the Oct. 22 election, leaving the door open to eventually backing a lawmaker from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party.

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Koike’s new Party of Hope has emerged as a serious challenge to Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party supporter base, but she has said she would not personally contest the election.

Abe called the snap election last month in hopes his ruling bloc would keep its majority in parliament’s lower house, where it now has a two-thirds “super” majority.

Losing a simple majority would be a major unexpected upset, but a poor performance by the LDP could put pressure on Abe to step down.

Asked in an interview published on Saturday by the Asahi newspaper whether Koike’s party would pick a candidate for premier from its own ranks during the election, she replied: “Basically, no.”

The campaign kicks off formally on Oct. 11. Reuters

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