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Four challenges awaiting the next UK Prime Minister

After the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson was announced, UK democracy prepares to start a new chapter. With a parliamentary majority, it will be up to the Conservative Party to appoint a new leader, who, consequently, will be the new British Chief Executive.

The second largest economy in Europe and the sixth largest in the world, the United Kingdom he has had a political life marked by unpredictability in recent years, which will require a lot of skill from Johnson’s replacement to stay in office and achieve the results desired by the British population. The following are some of the main challenges that the chosen one will face:

Political instability

In previous decades, the UK was known for having prime ministers who stayed in office for a long time: this was the case of the conservative Margaret Thatcher, prime minister between 1990 and 1990 ), and Labor Tony Blair (1997-2007).

However, the prime minister who will replace Boris Johnson will be the fourth in the country in just over six years.

In 2016, the conservative David Cameron, who was in power since 2010, resigned after the British population approved in a referendum the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the so-called Brexit, claiming that another prime minister should lead the process of withdrawing from the country.

His successor and co-religionist, Theresa May, took over in July 2016 and stayed in office until 2019, when she also resigned for failing to approve an agreement to the exit

Boris Johnson, one of the great supporters of Brexit, was May’s replacement and finally got a term for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, after calling early elections and obtaining a majority slack in Parliament for approval.

However, the scandals during his government led to the loss of support among conservatives and his announcement that he will leave office, made this Thursday (7). Therefore, the next leader of the Tories and the British Executive will have the mission to achieve a political stability that his predecessors could not.

Northern Ireland Protocol

Another point to be resolved by the new prime minister will be the exchange of barbs about the transit of goods from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) to Northern Ireland and Ireland, a member of the European Union, a flow that had the rules changed due to Brexit.

By the current protocol, customs inspections are carried out in the ports of Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom; if cleared, the products can go to Ireland. The idea was to avoid border crossings between the two Irelands, due to the past of violent conflicts in the Emerald Isle.

The protocol also states that Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU rules on product standards. .

However, the British government wants to change the rules. A green lane would be created for goods sent to Northern Ireland, which would be exempt from customs checks, and a red lane for products going to Ireland, which would undergo full customs controls. The government also wants changes to EU tariff rules that Northern Ireland follows.

The current protocol displeases unionist parties, who argue that inspection at Northern Ireland ports compromises Northern Ireland’s status. Irish as a member of the United Kingdom.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), runner-up in the May local elections, has to form a government with the nationalist legend Sinn Fein (which was the most voted), but refuses to do so until the protocol is reviewed. Sinn Fein, for its part, is in favor of continuing the current commitment.

In June, the European Commission notified the United Kingdom regarding the proposed revision of the Northern Ireland Protocol. If the country does not give a satisfactory answer by August, it could be brought before the Court of Justice of the European Union – which would be the court to deliberate on the matter because it would be an infringement against the bloc, despite the British no longer being part of it.

The UK government wants an independent body to mediate the matter, rather than the European court.

Ukrainian War

Boris Johnson has been one of Ukraine’s most devoted allies, invaded by Russia in 30 February. In addition to military and humanitarian aid for Kyiv and sanctions imposed on Moscow, the outgoing premier has visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky twice in the capital of the former Soviet republic since the beginning of the war.

His replacement will have to find a balance between supporting Ukraine and the mood of the UK population regarding the conflict.

According to a survey released in June by the YouGov institute, most of the British officials continue to approve of government support for Kyiv, but only 44% of respondents said they would agree to new sanctions on Russia even if it leads to a fuel shortage in the country. UK. In March, those who expressed this position were 52%.

Last month, 44% of Britons surveyed said they would support more sanctions on Moscow even if it meant an increase in the overall cost of living, 12 percentage points less than in March.

Economy

The cost of living is precisely another big challenge for the next premier of the UK. In May, inflation accumulated in 12 months reached 9.1% in the country, the highest level in 2019 years, mainly reflecting the high food and energy prices that afflict the whole world and that worsened after the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

In In June, the Bank of England announced the fifth consecutive interest rate increase. As wages do not follow the rise in prices, there are fears of strikes across the country, such as the one started by railroad workers last month and considered the largest in the category in 40 years old.

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