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Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak becomes the new leader of the British Conservative Party. Automatically succeeds Liz Truss as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. His only competitor, Penny Mordaunt, withdrew from the driving race at the last minute, British media report. Mordaunt immediately expressed her support for Sunak.
In the first reaction, the Conservative Party chairman said it was time to unite and all members were rallying behind Sunak. “The time for internal discussions is now over. Under Rishi Sunak’s leadership, I am sure we can tackle the problems of the British people.”
Sunak, 42, born in Southampton (to parents of Indian descent) is the first British Prime Minister to adhere to Hinduism. He is also the first prime minister of color. King Charles is expected to appoint him as prime minister tomorrow.
In order for a candidate to be allowed to run for party leadership, a candidate must have the support of at least one hundred party members in the House of Commons before 3pm Dutch time. Sunak has succeeded in getting at least 193 Conservative MPs behind him, according to the BBC.
His only rival, Tory leader in the House of Commons, Benny Mordaunt, was stuck with fewer than thirty statements of support. So I withdrew from the race just before 3pm.
Yesterday, former Prime Minister Johnson withdrew from the party leadership battle, even before he officially could run. This has already made it clear that the path to the premiership is open to Sunak.
Sunak previously served as Treasury Secretary in the Johnson administration. His exit from government last summer heralded the downfall of the prime minister after a series of scandals. Many party members still blame Sunak for this.
After Johnson’s resignation, Sunak attempted to become party leader, but lost to Liz Truss. When she announced her departure on Thursday after a weeks-long political and financial crisis, Sunak ran for re-election.
News site Politico talks about the most surprising political comeback in recent history. The loser in September became prime minister in OctoberBBC summarizes his comeback.
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