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Rishi Sunak Looks Set to become UK’s next Prime Minister



Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak looked set to become Britain’s next prime minister after his rival Boris Johnson quit the race, admitting that he could no longer unite their party following one of the most turbulent periods in British political history.

Sunak, the 42-year-old former finance minister, could be named leader as soon as Monday to replace Liz Truss, becoming Britain’s third prime minister in less than two months.

The multi-millionaire former hedge fund boss will face one of the most daunting set of challenges, tasked with rebuilding Britain’s fiscal reputation through deep spending cuts as it slides into a recession, dragged down by surging energy, food and mortgage rates.

He will also preside over a party that has bounced from one crisis to the next in recent months, badly split along ideological lines, and a country that is growing increasingly angry at the conduct of its politicians.

“The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis,” Sunak said in a statement declaring his candidacy on Sunday.

First he must defeat the last candidate in the contest, Penny Mordaunt, who is fighting to secure the support of 100 lawmakers to get on to Monday’s ballot. Mordaunt, who is leader of parliament’s House of Commons, has so far received the backing of around 25 politicians. More than 150 have backed Sunak.

Should she fail to hit the threshold, Sunak would become prime minister. If she makes it on to the ballot, the party’s members will select the winner on Friday.

“He’s not taking anything for granted at all,” interior minister Grant Shapps, a supporter of Sunak, told BBC television. “He’s speaking to colleagues throughout this morning. And of course, we’ll be hoping to attract sufficient numbers to ensure that this can be put to bed.”

Citi economist Benjamin Nabarro said he was sceptical that the government had the legitimacy to manage the current economic challenges. Its first task will be to present a budget, expected on Oct. 31, to plug a black hole in the public finances.

“Political machinations over the weekend point to a party beset with divisions. With party unity and legitimacy conspicuously threadbare, we expect a structural credibility gap to remain,” Nabarro said.

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