Six candidates will compete for the conservative leadership in the United Kingdom with former minister Sunak as the favorite | International
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The first round of voting for the UK’s conservative parliamentary group, held on Wednesday, has reduced the number of candidates to lead the party and replace Boris Johnson as prime minister to six. The 1922 Committee (the body that brings together the deputies Tories without a position in the Government, in charge of organizing the primary process and electing a new leader) had imposed a threshold of 30 votes that the candidates had to exceed in the first ballot. Jeremy Hunt, former Minister of Health and Johnson’s rival in the past primaries, with 18 votes, and the current Minister of Economy, Nadhim Zahawi, with 25, have been eliminated.
Former Economy Minister Rishi Sunak, who triggered Johnson’s downfall with his resignation, remains the favourite. He has been the one who has obtained the most votes: 88. But the Secretary of State for Commerce, Penny Mordaunt, is hot on his heels, with 67 votes. All the polls place her as the favorite among the bases and in the following rounds she could accumulate support that Sunak does not have so easy to attract. In third place, the head of Foreign Affairs, Liz Truss, is strongly placed. Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for Local Government and Religious Affairs, with 40 votes, is another surprise in the competition and has the support of the eurosceptic sector of the party. Tom Tugendhat, the president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, has achieved 37 and Suella Braverman, the state attorney general (highest legal adviser to the Government), 32.
The Conservative Party has conspired to accelerate the replacement of Boris Johnson as much as possible, but is aware that its affiliates would not tolerate the decision being made too quickly, without the opportunity to assess the possible candidates. There will be a new round of voting this Thursday, in which the candidate with the least votes will be discarded from the competition. There are calls scheduled for next week, starting Monday, until the magic number of only two competitors is reached. It must be achieved before July 21, the day on which Parliament concludes its session and closes its doors for the summer recess.
Meetings with members
During August, the two finalists will have to meet with the local groups of affiliates and make themselves known to each other. Some 200,000 party members have the right to choose the new leader. They will vote by mail throughout the summer. On September 5, the day before Parliament begins a new session, the Conservative Party will officially announce the name of its new leader and, consequently, the new prime minister.
The Labor opposition, which has not managed to carry out the motion of censure to advance elections due to the blockade imposed by Downing Street ―which controls the legislative agenda―, has once again called for Johnson’s resignation this Wednesday, during the control session. The still prime minister has assured that he intends to leave office, when the time comes, “with his head held high”. At the beginning of that session there was a particularly hard moment, when two deputies from the Scottish independence party Alba shouted for Johnson to leave his post. The speaker (Speaker of the House), Lindsay Hoyle, after practically losing her voice trying to bring order, has ordered the expulsion of both.
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In fact, the British Government has turned around the strange – unprecedented – situation of blocking such a serious opposition initiative as a motion of censure, and Johnson’s team has itself presented a matter of confidence that It will be debated and voted on next Monday. Downing Street reproached Labor for pointing out in its text the lack of confidence in a prime minister who is in office. The initiative presented by the British Executive asks the deputies to express their confidence or lack of confidence in the Conservative Government, apart from Johnson. There is not the slightest doubt that the Conservatives, the last ones interested in a hypothetical early election, will support, albeit with a stuffy nose, the group of ministers who continue to govern under the leadership of the Prime Minister.
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