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Yuriko Koike Is First Woman to Be Elected Tokyo Governor

'Daredevil' Becomes Tokyo's First Female Governor 0:41

TOKYO — Tokyo elected it first female governor Sunday as voters in the sprawling city opted for a break from traditional party politics and financial scandals.

Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike beat closest opponent Hiroya Masuda by more than a million ballots.

Image: Yuriko Koike
Yuriko Koike celebrates her election win on Sunday. KYODO / via Reuters

The 64-year-old angered the Tokyo branch of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party by not getting its approval before announcing her candidacy for city governor. She opted to run as an independent and LDP instead drafted Masuda, 64.

"I am in awe to see that when individual votes becomes one, it can turn into a huge wave," Koike told reporters at her campaign office on Monday after clinching her victory.

Her predecessor resigned on June 15 after admitting he used thousands in taxpayer money to fund family trips and artwork.

Koike joins the swelling ranks of women who have recently been elected or chosen to run countries and major cities.

On June 19, Virginia Raggi was elected Rome's first female mayor in its almost 3,000-year history, giving Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement its biggest victory to date.

Rome's New Mayor Vows to Clean Up City Hall 0:46

On July 13, Theresa May became Britain's prime minister. She replaced David Cameron, who became the first political casualty of the Brexit referendum when he announced his intention to quit hours after the result.

Koike mobilized support by promising environmentally friendly policies for the capital. She urged voters to wear green at her campaign rallies in a nod to her days as environment minister when she called for office workers to set aside their jacket and ties in favor energy saving lighter clothes.