Rishi Sunak becomes the new British Prime Minister
London – Rishi Sunak will become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after the current Prime Minister Liz Truss’ announcement last week that she is leaving. The 42-year-old former British finance chief will become the country’s third prime minister in less than two months, the youngest prime minister since 1812 and the first person of color to hold the role. He is of Indian descent and of Hindu faith.
“I promise I will serve you with integrity and humility,” Sunak said Monday at Britain’s Conservative Party headquarters. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I love and give back to the country to which I owe so much.”
Sunak, who used to work in finance, is – along with his wife, tech heiress Akshata Murty – one of the richest people in the UK. He served as finance secretary under Boris Johnson and many Conservative MPs – and many Britons in general – will hope his economic credentials can help shore up a falling pound and skyrocketing inflation and interest rates.
He has been a vocal critic of the tax-cut-focused economic plan launched just weeks ago under Truss, which sent shockwaves through international markets and eroded investor confidence in the UK, although virtually the entire plan was scrapped shortly after it was announced global confidence in Britain’s economic stability is yet to recover.
On Monday, Sunak secured the support of over 100 of his fellow Conservative MPs, qualifying him as a candidate for the party’s leadership contest, which was sparked when Liz Truss announced her resignation. His main rival, Penny Mordaunt, dropped out of the race just before the 2pm Monday deadline to secure the required number of supporters Boris Johnson retired from the race on Sunday night.
British Prime Ministers are not directly elected by general suffrage; They are usually the leaders of the parties that hold the most seats in Parliament. Therefore, as the Conservative Party holds the majority in Parliament, the process of selecting a new leader should also determine who would serve as the new prime minister.
Sunak will not become Prime Minister until Truss formally announces her resignation to King Charles III. submits and then officially asks the monarch Sunak to form a new government. That is expected to happen on Tuesday.
Under UK law, there must be another general election by January 2025, with the public voting for MPs. The government – still led by the same Conservative Party that has been in power for more than a decade – will be tasked with planning the next public vote, anytime before the deadline. Some, including the opposition Labor Party, are calling for general elections to be held immediately.
But with the recent political chaos caused by turmoil within the Conservative Party itself, the Tories, as the Conservatives are also known, are at an all-time low against Labour. The new government may be reluctant to call new elections before the deadline, which could mean the party risks losing its parliamentary majority.