TOKYO -- A new focus in the Sept. 20 presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is whether former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba will be able to secure 200 of the 810 votes up for grabs in the race.
Ishiba needs to win nearly 40 percent of the 405 votes allocated to approximately 1.04 million rank-and-file party members, as Abe is said to have the upper hand in garnering support from LDP Diet members, who account for the remaining 405 votes.
A person close to Abe said, "We want to block Mr. Ishiba from getting 200 votes." A senior Ishiba aide insisted that Ishiba will be in a better position in the future competition to choose Abe's successor "if he gets close to 40 percent of the votes from party members." The aide indicated that 200 votes are enough to keep his influence inside the party even if he loses the current presidential race, and become a serious candidate to lead the post-Abe LDP.
(Japanese original by Keiko Takahashi, Political News Department)