Renho elected as Japan’s first female leader of Democratic Party

Baku, September 15, AZERTAC

The Democratic Party selected acting leader Renho as its new chief Thursday, making the 48-year-old third-term member of the House of Councillors the first woman to head Japan’s main opposition party, according to Japan Today.

Renho, also a former Cabinet minister for administrative reform, beat former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and lower house lawmaker Yuichiro Tamaki in the party leadership race, despite fumbling questions over her dual nationality toward the end of the two-week contest.

Her relative youth and calm demeanor before the media may aid the party as it seeks to wrestle power from the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party. The Democratic Party’s predecessor, the Democratic Party of Japan was routed in the 2012 election after three years of disappointing rule.

“What we need to face now are the giant ruling parties,” Renho told fellow lawmakers and others at a party convention in Tokyo after her victory was announced. “We will thoroughly battle the (Abe) administration, not with criticism, but with the ability to boldly put forward proposals.”

Departing party leader Katsuya Okada had declared he would not seek to retain the leadership following the party’s lackluster showing in the July House of Councillors election.

In the vote tallied at the convention, Renho received 503 weighted points out of a total of 849, eclipsing Maehara’s 230 points and Tamaki’s 116 points.