Britain: Candidates Identified for Johnson’s Successor

In September there will be a second electoral round on the successor of Boris Johnson in Great Britain. The two candidates are already fixed. − Photo: Frank Augstein/AP/dpa

The Conservative parliamentary group has made its decision and has selected two candidates to succeed Prime Minister Johnson. Tory party members now have the floor. Who is moving to Downing Street?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s successor will be former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. The two politicians received the highest number of votes in the vote of the conservative parliamentary group on Wednesday, as announced by the head of the responsible commission, Graham Brady.

Second round election scheduled for September 5

Commerce Secretary Penny Mordaunt received the fewest votes, dropping out by just eight votes short of Truss. Now Tory party members decide in a second round. On September 5, it will be decided who will succeed Johnson in Downing Street.

The vote was made necessary because incumbent Johnson had resigned as party leader two weeks ago under massive pressure from a parliamentary group.

Internally disputed Sunak candidate

In all rounds of voting in the parliamentary group, the largest number of deputies voted for Sunak. However, the 42-year-old, who also appeals to the center of the party, is controversial internally. Above all, the right-wing conservative wing around Truss accuses Sunak of being responsible for the biggest tax hikes in decades.

Current Prime Minister Johnson is also seen as an opponent: those around him have accused the former Chancellor of the Exchequer of having betrayed the Prime Minister by instigating Johnson’s downfall with his resignation. Sunak rejects this. The result of a poll carried out on Tuesday by the Yougov polling institute among members of the Tory party also brought him bad news. Consequently, he should lose in the second round.

Truss as sole remaining representative from the right

Secretary of State Truss was considered a favorite from the start. However, he always finished third in the first round of elections, behind former foreign aid and defense secretary Mordaunt, who had long been considered the favorite of the party base. She had made a name for herself as a vehement supporter of Brexit and received a lot of approval from the party base. Nonetheless, Mordaunt was a thorn in the side of far-right Tories, who accused her of overly liberal views on gender issues and a lack of cabinet experience. As the sole remaining representative of the right, Truss, 46, was apparently able to convince many MPs who had previously voted for former Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch, who was also a right-wing Conservative.

Now the members of the party have the floor. However, it is unclear how many there are at this time. In the previous party leader election in 2019, when Boris Johnson prevailed, there were around 160,000 members. At the beginning of next week, the BBC wants to broadcast a television duel between the last two candidates, to which the applicants have already agreed. − dpa

Regina Anderson

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