The election of the new British Conservative leader, who will automatically become Prime Minister replacing Boris Johnson, entered its last week on Monday, with Foreign Minister Liz Truss as the great favorite, in a complicated economic and social context.
Truss, 47, is more than 30 points ahead of the former finance minister, Rishi Sunakin the latest polls conducted among those affiliated with the Conservative Party, which will decide the contest, which began in early July when Johnson was forced to resign harassed by scandals.
Conservative militants have been voting by mail and online since the beginning of the month to designate their new leader in a process that closes on Friday.
The winner will be announced next Monday and will immediately take the reins of the government to deal with the economic crisis that the country is experiencing, threatened with an autumn of protests and strikes in a context of uncontrolled inflation that has already reached 10% and is headed for exceed 13% at the end of the year.
Eight conservative candidates ran in July to succeed the controversial Johnson, among whom the party’s deputies designated two, in successive eliminatory votes, to submit them to the election by the bases.
The United Kingdom will thus find itself in a week with a new head of government elected only by some 200,000 members of the government formation, while the rest of the country watches helplessly with relative interest.
Lower taxes or public aid?
Faced with some Britons concerned about the cost of living, especially when the energy rate ceiling rises by 80% from October, the two candidates have faced each other in several television debates, in addition to touring numerous cities campaigning.
Sunak42, a billionaire ex-banker with Indian immigrant grandparents, was the overwhelming favorite among Conservative MPs.
But finding himself in front of the party’s base as a finalist against the foreign minister, who advanced to the last round by only eight votes, he began to lose ground, accused by many of having precipitated Johnson’s resignation with his own resignation in July.
“In a party that has evolved towards populism, she (Liz Truss) has known how to present herself in a more authentic way, more natural than Rishi Sunak, who is easily assimilated with the globalized elite”says Tim Bale, a political scientist at Queen Mary University of London.
Truss “easily manages to convey traditional conservative messages”adds John Curtice, an expert at the University of Strathclyde.
The campaign has been dominated by how to respond to the economic and social crisis.
Truss He promised immediate tax cuts, assuring that the impending recession is not inevitable and that the modification after Brexit of the commercial and financial rules inherited from the European Union will allow economic growth to be boosted.
For its part, Sunak He defended the need to maintain the tax increases decided by himself before leaving the Finance portfolio and offering public aid to the most disadvantaged. And he accused his rival of advocating a “fairy tale economy.”
If she becomes prime minister, Truss It will be the third in the history of the country after the also conservatives Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) and Theresa May (2016-2019).
But the next general election is scheduled for January 2025 at the latest and polls give the opposition Labor Party a 13-point lead over a Conservative Party that has been in power for 12 years.