Tokyo: Japan's main opposition Liberal Democratic Party chose former finance minister Sadakazu Tanigaki as its new leader on Monday, the choice apparently showing its desire to play it safe for the sake of party unity as it works on renewal.
Tanigaki, 64, was elected the 24th LDP president by beating his two younger contenders -- former senior vice justice minister Taro Kono and former parliamentary vice foreign minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, both 46.
"I have felt people's avid expectations. I would like to live up to those expectations," Tanigaki told reporters prior to his election win, expressing his determination to revitalise the party.
Succeeding the top party post from Taro Aso, under whose leadership the LDP suffered a drubbing in last month's national election, the veteran lawmaker faces the daunting task of reviving a party that has become an opposition force for only the second time in its 54-year history.
In today's vote, Tanigaki, a party heavyweight whose past portfolio also includes minister of transport and chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, captured 300 of the 498 valid ballots cast by party Diet members and local chapters in the nation's 47 prefectures.
First Published: Monday, September 28, 2009, 18:29