TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that the current COVID-19 situation does not allow him to call a snap general election any time soon.
“Our first priority is the fight against the novel coronavirus. In this difficult time, we are not in a situation to dissolve” the House of Representatives for a snap election, Suga told reporters.
He is apparently exploring the possibility of dissolving the Lower House this month for a snap election, a plan facing opposition from within his ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The term of the all-important parliamentary chamber expires on Oct. 21.
Suga also said he is not considering postponing the Sept. 29 LDP leadership election. His term as party president expires on Sept. 30.
A senior LDP member close to Suga said that the Lower House will not be dissolved before the leadership election.
Suga will reshuffle LDP executives and his cabinet as early as Monday, the party member said.
Senior members of the LDP’s largest faction, led by former Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda, expressed opposition to dissolving the Lower House this month and putting off the party’s leadership race.
Another LDP executive close to Suga said that the party will lose a considerable number of seats in an early Lower House election.
A senior member of Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, expressed displeasure with the plan to dissolve the Lower House this month.