The election for the leadership of the Conservative Party and, consequently, for the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom enters the decisive phase in August, when the approximately 160 thousand members of the party will vote by mail for one of the two candidates who passed the preliminary stages of the process (in which only Conservative MPs voted): former Economy Minister Rishi Sunak, from years, and Foreign Minister Liz Truss, from 47.
Both will have the mission of stabilizing the Conservative Party and the country after the tumultuous tenure of Boris Johnson, who announced his departure from office on July 7.
Due to differing opinions on the conduct of the British economy, Sunak had left the Executive two days earlier. His departure was one of the first in a stampede of dozens of Johnson administration employees, cornered by scandals and who saw no alternative but to resign.
Truss, in turn, remained in government, even who has said since then that the current prime minister will not be part of his term if he is the winner.
Young candidates from the Conservative Party (at least compared to predecessors Theresa May, who had 59 years when she became prime minister, and Boris Johnson, who was 55), Sunak and Truss have other similarities, such as defense of Brexit and scandals that almost jeopardized their careers, but now they will have the task of showing the base voters of the party their differences to get votes.
Sunak is the son of African immigrants of Indian descent and, if elected, will be the first Hindu to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He studied philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford and later was an analyst at Goldman Sachs and a partner in two hedge funds. He is married to Akshata Murthy, daughter of Narayana Murthy, an Indian billionaire who co-founded the information technology services company Infosys. The couple has two daughters.
Akshata’s tax situation and press revelations that Sunak himself would be a beneficiary of funds in tax havens (he denies) created embarrassment in the first half of this year, when he was already Minister of Economy. Previously, he had been elected parliamentarian in 2020 and held other positions in the governments of Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
Minister of Economy since 2020, Sunak coordinated the economic response to the pandemic and a 350 billion pound package of government support has earned him high approval ratings, although inflation since late last year has taken some of those political dividends out of as a fine for involvement in Partygate, the scandal in which members of the British Executive gathered at parties during the lockdown while forbidding the population to do the same.
Also a former Oxford student, Truss was militant of the left and came to defend the end of the monarchy, but later migrated to conservatism. She worked as an accountant at Shell and at the telecommunications company Cable & Wireless.
Married and mother of two, Truss was first elected to the British Parliament in 2010 , but almost lost support in his constituency two years later due to the revelation of an extramarital affair with Conservative MP Mark Field.
Truss remained in office and in the same year entered the Executive, where she held positions in the areas of Education, Environment and Agriculture, Justice, Economy, women’s policies and Foreign Affairs – she has been minister of this portfolio since September last year.
Unlike Sunak, who been a supporter of Brexit from the first moment, Truss defended that the United Kingdom remain in the European Union, but after the referendum in which the British population opted to leave the bloc, he changed his mind. She is aiming to become the country’s third female prime minister – the previous two, Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, were also from the Conservative Party.
On 5 September, the UK and the world will know which of the two will replace Boris Johnson. Sunak led the polls among lawmakers, but among the conservative base, Truss is the favorite: a poll carried out last week by the YouGov institute showed that she has 54% of the voting intentions, while your rival has 35%.