Liz Truss replaced the controversial Boris Johnson as leader of the British Conservative Party on Monday and will become the new prime ministerat the head of a United Kingdom plunged into a serious crisis due to the cost of living.
Two months after Johnson’s resignationharassed by multiple scandals, the government formation announced that its more than 172,000 affiliates elected the hitherto Minister of Foreign Affairs to lead the formation and take the reins of the country.
The head of diplomacy, 47, it was imposed by 81,326 votes against 60,399 former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, a 42-year-old former banker billionaire grandson of Indian immigrants.
Truss will become the country’s third prime ministerafter the also conservatives Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) and Theresa May (2016-2019).
“It’s an honor,” said a visibly moved Truss in a speech in which she paid tribute to Johnson for his work at the head of the country since 2019, bringing Brexit to fruition, overcoming the pandemic and standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.
Faced with the internal division aggravated by this election, Johnson for his part called on the Conservative Party to unite with Truss. “Now is the time for all Conservatives to support her 100%,” he tweeted.
The race for the leadership began in July, when the controversial prime minister was forced to resign.
Its result, however, is not necessarily representative of the wishes of the 67 million Britons.
In a YouGov poll in late August, 52% of respondents thought Truss would make a “bad” or “terrible” prime minister. 43% stated that they do not trust it “at all” when it comes to 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 with the citizens’ bills, but also with the long-term problems that we have in the energy supply,” Truss promised Monday in a brief speech after announcing his victory.
According to various British media, he is contemplating a freeze on energy prices.
“If the new prime minister doesn’t tackle these issues head-on, the economy will slip further into dangerous waters and the outlook for businesses and consumers will be really bleak,” said Sarah Howard, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, asking for help. immediate.
Reiterating his campaign commitments, Truss promised on Monday to present “a bold plan to cut taxes and grow the economy” in Britain, which is teetering on the brink of recession. On Sunday he had announced that he would present such a plan “in a month.”
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 name 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 before the famous black door of number 10 Downing Street and form a government.
On Wednesday she plans to preside over her first council of ministers and face opposition leader Keir Starmer in Parliament, who after congratulating her assured that Truss “is not on the side of working people.”
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