Japan on Tuesday decided to pick Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's successor at an extraordinary parliament session on Oct. 4, meaning a general election is likely to be held in November, Kyodo News reported.
"We need to nominate a next prime minister after the elections, so we will convene an extraordinary Diet session … this morning in the Cabinet meeting we have given an approval for that," Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news briefing in the capital Tokyo.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) holds its own election to pick Suga’s successor on Sept. 29. Whoever is elected is expected to be endorsed in the Diet.
Earlier this month, Suga said he will not run for re-election as party leader, signaling the end of his tenure. He was appointed to the role just a year ago following the resignation of Shinzo Abe.
The decision came amid his low approval ratings due to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. The world’s third-largest economy has been badly hit, forcing the government to maintain liquidity in the markets by pushing in stimulus packages for businesses, and handing over cash to households.
Four lawmakers from the LDP are vying for leadership of the ruling party that holds majority in parliament. Vaccination Minister Taro Kono, former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, former Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi and LDP's Executive Acting Secretary General Seiko Noda are campaigning for the top post.