Rishi Sunak, Britain’s former chancellor of the exchequer, has won the ruling Conservative Party’s leadership contest. He will replace Liz Truss on Tuesday as the British prime minister, the third this year, at a time of economic challenges and political turbulence.
Sunak, 42, is the first person of Indian origin to become the British prime minister. He is also the youngest prime minister in the country’s modern political history. Sunak was declared winner by the Tory backbench 1922 Committee shortly after the deadline on Monday afternoon when he emerged as the only contender who secured the required backing of at least 100 lawmakers. Another contender, Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, failed to garner enough votes.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson withdrew from the contest on Sunday despite the backing of 102 Tory lawmakers he claimed to have secured. Johnson said it was “simply not the right time” for him to stand for the leadership race as “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.”
The leadership race was launched when Truss announced her resignation on Thursday after a little over six weeks in office. Her economic blueprint, the “mini-budget,” was blamed for causing market turmoil and tanking the Conservative Party’s poll rating. Monday’s victory was second time lucky for Sunak. In his first shot at the top job this summer, he lost to Truss in the head-to-head stage of the Tory leadership race, triggered by scandal-hit Johnson’s resignation.