Liz Truss replaced the controversial Boris Johnson as leader of the British Conservative Party on Monday and will become the new prime minister, leading a United Kingdom mired in a serious crisis due to the cost of living.
Two months after the resignation of Johnsonharassed by multiple scandals, the government formation announced that its more than 172,000 affiliates elected the former Minister of Foreign Affairs to lead the formation and take the reins of the country.
The 47-year-old diplomat won 81,326 votes to 60,399 against former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, a 42-year-old former banker billionaire grandson of Indian immigrants.
Truss will become the country’s third prime minister, after the also conservative Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) and Theresa May (2016-2019).
“It is an honor”, he claimed Truss visibly moved in a speech in which she paid tribute to Johnson for his work at the head of the country since 2019, carrying the Brexit to fruition, overcoming the pandemic and standing up to the Russian president Vladimir Putin for his invasion of the Ukraine.
The race for the leadership began in July, when the controversial Johnson was pushed by his own party to resign.
The vote of the affiliates by mail and by Internet closed on Friday, after eight weeks of campaign that Truss described as “The longest job interview in history.”
The result, however, is not necessarily representative of the wishes of the 67 million Britons.
In a survey carried out by YouGov at the end of August, 52% of respondents considered that Truss would be a “bad” either “lousy” First minister. 43% stated that they do not trust her “Not at all” when responding to the problem of the growing cost of living, which has dominated the news for weeks.
Possible price freeze
The country is feeling the effects of inflation of 10%, its highest level in 40 years, fueled by a spike in energy prices induced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the use of gas as a political weapon.
An inflation that during the summer gave rise to numerous strikes and promises an autumn marked by protests.
Household energy bills will rise 80% from October, and millions of families face a painful dilemma between eating and heating their homes this winter.
“I will deal with the energy crisis and the citizens’ bills, but also with the long-term problems that we have in the energy supply”, promised Truss on Monday in a brief speech after his victory was announced.
According to various British media, he is contemplating a freeze on energy prices.
“I will introduce a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy”he also assured, as he had promised during the campaign.
Indeed, on Sunday he had announced that “in a month” he would announce that complete tax reduction plan. “to jump-start the British economy”, which is on the verge of recession.
transfer of power
The change of prime minister will not take place, however, until Tuesday, when Johnson will deliver his farewell speech in Downing Street.
He will then travel to Balmoral, Elizabeth II’s summer residence in Scotland, 800 km north of London, to present his formal resignation to the Queen, who will then officially appoint Truss as her successor.
For the first time in her 70-year reign, Elizabeth II, 96, will not travel to London for this ceremony, due to her increasing mobility problems.
The new head of government will then return to the capital to deliver her first speech in front of the famous black door at number 10 Downing Streetform a government and debate Wednesday in Parliament with the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer.