Sadakazu Tanigaki, former finance minister in the cabinet of then Prime Minister of Junichiro Koizumi between 2003 and 2006, was elected president of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Monday.
In the presidential election held at the LDP headquarters, Tanigaki, who also served as transport minister and chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, polled 300 of the 498 valid ballots cast by LDP lawmakers and local LDP members from 47 prefectures.
Tanigaki, 64, has thus become the 24th LDP president, defeating his two younger rivals -- former Senior Vice Justice Minister TaroKono and former Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, both 46.
The top LDP office has been vacant since former Prime Minister Taro Aso, who doubled as LDP party chief, stepped down from both posts on Sept. 16.
In the historic general election on Aug. 30, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won by a landslide, breaking the half-century lock of the LDP on power. Japan has thus witnessed a real change of government for the first time in the postwar era.