The long wait for Boris Johnson’s successor ends today
After eight weeks of internal elections to replace Boris Johnson at the head of the Conservative party, Britons will learn today whether favorite Liz Truss will be the third woman prime minister, or Rishi Sunak the first non-Caucasian head of government.
The announcement by the 1922 Committee, the council of MPs that organises the leadership elections, will take place at 12:30 London time, but the passing of the “baton” will not take place until Tuesday, when Johnson resigns as prime minister to Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The long process began on July 7, when Boris Johnson announced his resignation following the resignation of 60 members of the government, instigated by a series of scandals and doubts about the leader’s integrity.
The final round, conducted by postal ballot and open only to the party’s approximately 180,000 militants, closed on Friday after a campaign across the country that included 12 rally-debates between Truss and Sunak, television debates, and other events.
The decision on who will lead the country of 67 million people fell to a group of less than 0.3% of the population, made up mostly, according to an academic study, of white men over the age of 50.
An outspoken advocate of a free market and low taxes, 47-year-old Liz Truss is an experienced politician who has held a number of ministerial positions over the past 10 years.
Of Indian descent, Sunak has struggled to distance himself from the image of a wealthy technocrat and a traitor because he was among the first to quit the government in early July, precipitating the fall of Boris Johnson.
Associated with the social democratic wing of the party because of measures to support families and businesses during the pandemic, he too invokes Thatcher’s legacy of fiscal prudence, preferring to fight double-digit inflation before cutting taxes.
The Conservative Party has been in power for 12 years and is divided between various currents. All polls indicate that it will lose to the Labour party in the next parliamentary elections that have to be held by January 2025 at the latest.