Ja­pan’s Koike steps down as party head

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

TOKYO: Tokyo Gov­er­nor Yuriko Koike, once seen as a pos­si­ble first Ja­panese fe­male prime min­is­ter, stepped down as leader of her party Tues­day af­ter suf­fer­ing a crush­ing elec­tion de­feat last month.

Vow­ing to do away with “old pol­i­tics,” the charis­matic for­mer tele­vi­sion an­chor­woman launched a new party in Septem­ber that as­pired to of­fer an al­ter­na­tive to the long­gov­ern­ing Lib­eral Demo­cratic Party and its leader Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in the Oc­to­ber 22 snap elec­tions.

Her new “Party of Hope” fielded 235 can­di­dates for the poll but won a mere 50 seats while Abe’s rul­ing coali­tion grabbed a two-thirds ma­jor­ity.

Koike’s sup­port im­ploded par­tially be­cause she failed to stand her­self in the elec­tion — con­fus­ing vot­ers who did not know who would be pre­mier if she won.

In opin­ion polls con­ducted by the Sankei Shim­bun at the week­end, sup­port for her party dropped to 3.9 per cent from 9.5 per cent last month, with more than 77 per cent of re­spon­dents call­ing on her to con­cen­trate on her job as Tokyo gov­er­nor.

“Step­ping down as the head, I want to sup­port you in an ap­pro­pri­ate ca­pac­ity,” Koike told a party con­fer­ence af­ter it se­lected its ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers.

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