Koike resigns as leader of Hope party to focus on being governor

Tokyo Gov. Koike resigns as party leader after election defeat

Yuriko Koike will resign as leader of the Party of Hope, sources close to the matter said on Tuesday, after the fledgling party formed by the popular Tokyo governor performed poorly in the general election last month. "I want to leave things to President Tamaki".

Expectations for the new party were high.

Governor Yuriko Koike, a former ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker sometimes mentioned as a possible first female Japanese premier, launched the party to great fanfare ahead of the October 22 lower house election and absorbed a big chunk of the failed opposition Democratic Party.

Koike had drawn flak for standing in the election as a non-parliamentarian and for remarks she had made during campaigning that were described as being arrogant by the public. The bubble burst when she fumbled a merger with the then-main opposition Democratic Party. Koike's local party, Tomin First no Kai (Tokyo residents first association), had racked up a major victory against the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election in July.

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But despite her bid to create what she called a "reformist, conservative" rival to Abe's LDP, Koike's party won only 51 seats in the 465-member lower house.

After stepping down, Koike is expected to concentrate on her duties as governor of the capital.

Tamaki told party lawmakers after he was selected as co-leader that the party needed to "seriously and humbly face up to what happened and ask ourselves why we lost".

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