ANKARA – Japan's ruling party on Wednesday decided to pick Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's successor on Sept. 14, local media reported.

The process to elect the Liberal Democratic Party's president will begin on Sept. 8, reported Kyodo News Agency.

Over 394 lawmakers and 141 delegates from local chapters will vote to choose the president for the ruling party on Sept. 14, while the new leader will have to gain majority support in the parliament to be elected as the prime minister on Sept. 16.

The ruling party enjoys a majority in the country's powerful lower house.

Yoshihide Suga, 71, who served as chief cabinet secretary for nearly eight years and is considered Abe's longtime right-hand man, is expected to secure the top position of the party, the agency reported.

Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba are also in the run for the party's top post.

The country's longest-serving premier, Abe, in a surprise statement last week, stepped down owing to his complicated health conditions.

The outgoing premier is suffering from ulcerative colitis which is thought to have revived and came to light last month when he reportedly vomited blood. (Anadolu)