Japan’s Koike steps down as party head
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.