Newly elected leader of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Yoshihide Suga (C) is applauded after being elected as Japan's prime minister by the Lower House of parliament in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

Yoshihide Suga was formally elected as Japan's prime minister by parliament’s lower house on Wednesday, per AP.

Why it matters: Suga is the first new leader of the world's third-largest economy in nearly eight years, after Shinzo Abe officially resigned from the role earlier in the day.

The big picture: Suga, Japan's former chief cabinet secretary was last Monday elected the new head of the country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party after winning 377 of the 535 available votes from lawmakers and regional representatives, per Bloomberg.

  • He was an Abe ally and favorite to take over from him.
  • The 71-year-old is six years older than Abe, who announced his resignation late last month due to chronic ulcerative colitis.
  • Suga, the son of a schoolteacher and a strawberry farmer from Japan's rural north, is a rare leading lawmaker not from a political elite family, the New York Times notes.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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