Japan's lower house steering committee decided to hold a parliamentary election to choose Japan's new prime minister during a plenary session scheduled for next Tuesday afternoon.
The cabinet of outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced his resignation last week, was expected to resign en masse the same day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano said.
The vote is to come on the heels of an election within Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Sunday to choose its premier candidate between former chief cabinet secretary Yasuo Fukuda and LDP General Secretary Taro Aso, 67.
Fukuda, 71, is considered leading the race with almost 70 per cent of lawmakers' votes, with 387 by LDP lawmakers and 141 from local chapters making up a majority of the 528 ballots to be cast on Sunday, according to Kyoto News Agency polls.
About 60 LDP lawmakers were reported to be undecided.
The opposition bloc decided to vote for Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa to run in the premiership election when a runoff election is held in the upper house next Tuesday.
But the winner of the LDP election would effectively become Japan's prime minister because the LDP maintains a comfortable majority in the House of Representatives, Japan's lower house, which can override decisions by the House of Councillors, which the DPJ gained control of in July elections.
Abe abruptly ended his year-long premiership last week and was admitted to hospital the next day for a gastrointestinal disorder triggered by stress and fatigue.
Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2007, 11:07