Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe sealed 464 of the 703 votes and to be elected the 21st president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday afternoon.
The 403 LDP lawmakers, with one ballot each, began voting from 2 PM local time at LDP headquarters in Tokyo. Another 300 votes, which were shared by the party's 1.06 million rank-and-file members and posted to the election committee from the party's 47 prefectural chapters, were added to the final result.
The other two candidates, Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, received 136 votes and 102 votes respectively.
Abe will serve a three-year term as LDP president and succeed outgoing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi because the ruling bloc, made up of the LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito party, holds a majority in the lower house, which has the final say in selecting the premier.
Abe's official appointment as prime minister will be made during an extra Diet session on September 26.
Abe who turns 52 on Thursday, is the youngest leader the LDP has had.
(Xinhua News Agency September 20, 2006)