Tokyo’s Koike says he won’t seek seat
Tokyo’s Koike says he won’t seek seat: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, whose new party is challenging Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc in the Oct. 22 national election, said she would “100 percent” not run in the poll, the latest twist in a drama giving voters whiplash.
Speculation has persisted that Koike, a former LDP member and defense minister, would resign to run for a seat in parliament needed to make a bid for the premiership.
“I have been saying I will not run for the election from the beginning,” Koike said in an interview with the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Tuesday.
“I‘m 100 percent not running for the election.”
She later repeated the comment to reporters.
If Koike does not personally contest this election, then analysts believe she would hope her party positions itself to win the next national poll, and that she gains a voter boost from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Abe announced the snap election last week in hopes his Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition would keep its majority in parliament’s lower house, where it held a two-thirds “super majority” before the chamber was dissolved.
But Koike’s new Party of Hope – launched just last week as a “reformist, conservative” alternative to Abe’s equally conservative LDP – has clouded the outlook amid signs voters are disillusioned with Abe after nearly five years in power.
Koike’s dilemma was whether to run for a seat now and face a backlash from voters for quitting as governor little more than a year since she defied the LDP to run successfully for the post, or risk letting a shot at the top job slip through her fingers.
Some analysts saw her decision not to seek a seat now as a sign Koike thinks her party’s momentum is fading.
“She must have thought it would not be worthwhile abandoning the post of Tokyo governor to become a head of an opposition,” said Tetsuro Kato, a professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University.
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