Japan's ruling party starts presidential election

08:59, June 04, 2010      

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The ruling Democratic Party of Japan ( DPJ) started presidential election Friday morning, with Finance Minister Naoto Kan leading the race.

The 63-year-old Kan, also deputy prime minister, is reportedly to have gained broad support from DPJ lawmakers.

Kan will be challenged by Shinji Tarutoko, 50, a relatively unknown lawmaker who chairs the House of Representatives Environment Committee.

The election started at 9 a.m. when the party started accepting candidacy. A general meeting of party lawmakers from both chambers of the Diet will open at 11 a.m. in the Diet Building, where 307 lower house members and 115 House of Councillors members will cast ballots to choose their new leader.

Yukio Hatoyama and his Cabinet members resigned en masse in the morning, prior to the Diet's vote on the country's new leader in the afternoon.

The new DPJ president, who is expected to be named at around 12: 30 p.m. is almost certain to become Japan's next prime minister as the party holds a comfortable majority in the powerful lower house.

Hatoyama announced his resignation Wednesday, bowing to pressure within the DPJ due to his handling of a U.S. base relocation in Okinawa and fund problems.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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