Ja­panese leader falls on sword

QUITS: PARTY FOUNDED BY FOR­MER TV AN­CHOR TROUNCED BY PRIME MIN­IS­TER IN POLLS

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - WORLD -

Tokyo

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

Vow­ing to do away with “old pol­i­tics”, the charis­matic for­mer tele­vi­sion an­chor launched a new party in Septem­ber that as­pired to of­fer an al­ter­na­tive to the long-gov­ern­ing 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 twothirds 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% from 9.5% last month, with more than 77% 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,” said Koike. –

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