Two Conservative Party candidates vie for prime minister’s chair
The elections for the new leader of the ruling Conservative Party, who will automatically become prime minister, have been completed in Britain. The election was held in several stages: first, there were five rounds of voting among Tory MPs (unofficial historical name of the Conservative Party), which resulted in only two candidates out of eight: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. A sixth and final round of voting was held from July 22 to September 2. Only members of the ruling party – about 175,000 people, or 0.4 percent of the total electorate – participated in the vote.
Liz Truss is 47 years old. Her parents are Labor, but she herself joined the Conservative Party as soon as she graduated from Oxford in 1996. In 2010 she managed to get elected to Parliament, and two years later she got her first position in the government. Over the past 12 years Truss has changed six ministerial positions, and in 2016 she became the first woman appointed to the position of Lord Chancellor (head of the House of Lords). Since 2021, she has been the head of the British Foreign Office (FCO), where she has consistently pursued a tough policy on Russia. If she wins, Liz Truss will become the third female prime minister in British history, after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.
Rishi Sunak is 42 years old. His parents are medics who moved to England from East Africa, where there has been an Indian diaspora since colonial times. Despite his humble origins, Sunak received a prestigious education, first at Winchester College, an elite boarding school for boys, then a BA at Oxford and an MBA at Stanford. As a student he favored investments, though he once jokingly told fellow students that he planned to become prime minister. Sunak is married to Akshat Murthy, the daughter of one of India’s richest men. Initially he worked in the private sector, but in 2014 he entered politics and quickly rose to the top of the Conservative Party. If elected, Rishi Sunak would become Britain’s first prime minister of Indian origin.