TOKYO—Japan's Yoshihide Suga, a long-time ally of outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership election on Monday, paving the way for him to become prime minister in a parliamentary vote this week.
He is virtually certain to be elected prime minister in the Wednesday vote because of the LDP's majority in the lower house.
Suga, 71, who served in the powerful post of chief cabinet secretary during Abe's nearly eight-year tenure, has said he will pursue his predecessor's "Abenomics" recipe of hyper-easy monetary policy, government spending and reform, and follow a diplomatic line centred on the U.S.-Japan security alliance.
He will serve out Abe's term as party leader through September 2021.
Abe, Japan's longest serving premier, said last month he would quit due to ill health, ending a nearly eight-year term.