Written by Shane Balkham.

Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese Prime Minister, was assassinated last week. He was shot twice while giving a campaign speech on Friday, in the run up to elections in Japan’s Upper House on Sunday. In the wake of the assassination, voter turnout was boosted and has given Fumio Kishida’s ruling coalition a landslide victory. The coalition won 93 of the 125 seats in the Upper House that were up for election, well above the two-thirds majority that is needed to revise the Japanese constitution.

However, the impact of Abe’s death will be significant for Japanese politics. Shinzo Abe was arguably the most influential leader that Japan has seen in decades, cleverly bringing people together. Although he stood down as Prime Minister due to health concerns, he still remained a dominant force in Japanese politics. The incident has naturally shocked Japan, where political violence has been rare and few people actually own firearms.

Less shocked were the population of the UK, which saw Boris Johnson quit as leader of the Conservative Party but confirmed he would be staying on as Prime Minister until a successor was elected. It has been a chaotic three years for Boris Johnson, which saw him steer the Conservative Party to its biggest victory in more than four decades at the 2019 general election, but ultimately it was his inability to tell the truth that has undermined his tenure.

We are now seeing a leadership contest to find the next Conservative Party leader and by default, the next Prime Minister. While Rishi Sunak has become the favourite amongst bookmakers, close allies of Boris Johnson are accusing the former Chancellor of being the catalyst of Johnson’s downfall. Loyalists of Boris Johnson will ensure they make the leadership contest as uncomfortable as possible for Sunak, despite his polished three-minute video extolling the virtues that he can bring to the UK as the next Prime Minister.

What the country needs is an honest, competent, and quick contest to find the next leader. However, there will be too many players in this race that will seek to gain an advantage any way they can. Let us hope it is a short race.

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