Boris Johnson resignation: Who are the favorites to succeed Boris Johnson? | International
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The race for succession in Britain’s Conservative Party has formally kicked off, with the political corpse of Boris Johnson still at 10 Downing Street as a dire reminder to those tempted by the cup of power. Regicide tends to occupy the epilogue in the biographies of the leaders Toriesbut the spell cast by the official residence continues to cast its hold on a myriad of candidates preparing for a Cainite battle that will ultimately decide the Conservative militancy.
Next week the so-called 1922 Committee (which brings together all the Conservative deputies who are not part of the Cabinet) will specify both the calendar and the details of the contest, but the goal is for the next leader to be elected at the beginning of September. The first phase of the election has no fixed rules: these are prepared by the 1922 Committee and are presented before the vote. A priori, the applicants must obtain the support of at least eight deputies and will undergo successive eliminatory rounds in the parliamentary group, of which two will finally remain. Of this duo, the between 100,000 and 200,000 members of the Conservative Party (the real number has never been confirmed) will elect the prime minister of a country of almost 68 million inhabitants.
The only requirement to be leader of the Conservative Party is to be a member of the House of Commons and a member of the party for three months before the election. The party has 358 active MPs and it can be any of them except Boris Johnson: Party rules explicitly exclude a resigning leader from voting. The first sieve will serve not only to test the internal temperature, but also to eliminate the straw. In the initial voting it is necessary to reach 5% of support (18 deputies); in the second, 10%, and in the following, the candidate with the least votes will be eliminated. In 2019 there were five rounds of voting; in 2016, there were only two.
The first to have confirmed their ambitions are already ruled out, such as the attorney general, Suella Braveman; or the leathery MP Steve Baker, scourge of the three conservative prime ministers of the 21st century (David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson). Nor can a white blackbird be ruled out, unknown to the general public, as happened in 2005 with David Cameron. In the current case, Tom Tugendhat, representative of the moderates grouped under the One Nation umbrella (a group that brings together fifty parliamentarians), has the credentials and this Thursday he also announced at the last minute his intention to be a candidate, but the The struggle will be dominated by members of the Executive, current or past.
His problem is his association with a leader so toxic that even his own ranks do not want him to remain in Downing Street until the process is resolved, an especially difficult problem for those who remained until the end. There is already a narrative in circulation to justify it: the responsibility of keeping the Government in operation as a cover letter, in all probability, one of the flanks that will mark the combat.
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The demoscopy puts two names in the lead: Defense Minister Ben Wallace, a sober politician who has taken advantage of his moment with the Ukraine conflict; and the Finance Minister until Tuesday, Rishi Sunak, the pretty boy of the British right who sounded like a guaranteed successor until avoidable mistakes, such as his wife’s tax arrangements, and the unappealable wear on the cost of living made him fall into misfortune.
Wallace is the favorite of the militancy, according to the ConservativeHome website, an essential scale to know the sensations of the Conservative Party; while Sunak, recently considered touched and almost sunk, is the only one of the seven conservatives proposed who would beat the Labor leader, Keir Starmer, in a poll carried out in the last hours.
The other applicants are a miscellany of usual suspects and recent promises. Sajid Javid is taken for granted on the list, until Tuesday head of Health and until February 2020 Minister of Finance, a position from which he had already resigned due to Johnson’s interference in his cabinet. His two resignations have bolstered his honesty credentials, a beneficial trait in contrast to Johnson’s laxity; and Liz Truss, responsible for Foreign Affairs since September and until recently a favorite of the militancy, due to her extreme liberalism and disdain for state interventionism.
Among the figures who have stood out in recent times is the finance minister since Tuesday, Nadhim Zahawi, whose letter asking Johnson to leave was one of the levers that sentenced the future of the premier. Arriving in the UK as a 10-year-old Iraqi refugee, speaking no English, he represents the come-from-behind story that always helps in politics, and his management of the vaccination program during the pandemic has given him a much-needed halo of competence after the chaotic management of Your boss.
It is also expected that Penny Mordaunt will attend, whose highest political responsibility had been to be the first woman at the head of Defense (she did so in 2019). And there is no succession among the conservatives that does not include veteran Michael Gove in the pools, the incombustible minister of almost everything that has remained, in this crisis, as the only one Johnson dared to fire during the cascade of resignations that would end up triggering his tragic end.
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