Japan's Ruling Party Picks Next PM

Nationalist Taro Aso likely to call early election
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 22, 2008 7:43 AM CDT
Newly elected Liberal Democratic Party President Taro Aso, third from right, shakes hands with outgoing party leader and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, third from left, and other election candidates.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Japanese nationalist Taro Aso won a convincing ruling-party vote to become the country’s next prime minister, Reuters reports. The Liberal Democrat and former foreign minister will become the third PM this year. Facing a troubled economy and strong opposition in Parliament’s upper house, Aso will likely call an early election. “Only when we have won that election will I have fulfilled my destiny,” he said.

The outspoken 68-year-old, known for gaffes, may keep his predecessor in the cabinet and bring in another rival to achieve party unity, but faces an uphill battle. But “it's going to be a weak government” and the likely election will leave “a weak government as a result,” said a US expert, who noted that Japan would become “more inward-looking.”