Against all the predictions, Yoshihiko Noda has become the leader of Japan’s governing Democratic Party. It was the second round of voting after none of the five candidates won a majority in the first.
Trade Minister Banri Kaieda polled the most votes the first time around. He squared off against Noda, who had come second.
The most significant news is that Noda will now become Japan’s next Prime Minister – not an easy job, as everyone agrees.
The next leader faces a raft of daunting challenges, primarily recovery from the devasting earthquake and tsunami in March, and finding a way forward from the resulting nuclear crisis and impasse.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan resigned as party leader last week after coming under fire for his response to the disaster.
With parliament divided, some are predicting that the new leader – already the sixth in five years – may not last long.