LONDON (HPD) — Rishi Sunak has won the race to lead the Conservative Party and will become Britain’s next prime minister, his third this year.
The former Treasury chief will be the first non-white British leader and faces the task of stabilizing his party and the country at a time of economic and political turbulence.
Her only rival, Penny Mordaunt, conceded defeat and retired on Monday.
As leader of the ruling party, she will replace Liz Truss, who resigned last week after 45 days in office, as prime minister.
Sunak was the favorite at a time when the Conservative Party was looking for some stability amid huge economic challenges and recent chaos in the political arena.
Sunak’s position was strengthened after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson withdrew from the race. The party elected its third leader and third prime minister so far this year after Truss resigned after just 45 days in office.
Sunak lost to Truss in the previous election, but the Conservatives now appear eager for a stable command at a time of high food and fuel prices and the possibility of a recession. Sundak guided the British economy through the pandemic and was praised for the financial support he gave to laid-off workers and failing businesses.
Sundak has promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability” in response to the growing demand for a leader who can meet the economic challenges facing the country.
Hours earlier Sundak, 42, was the only candidate with the confirmed support of more than 100 lawmakers, the minimum required to compete, and his supporters claimed he had the backing of more than half of the 357 Conservative MPs. Mordaunt hoped he could have the bare minimum by the time the nominations concluded, but he dropped out of the competition.
This means that Sunak will now receive a formal request from King Carlos III to form a government. He will become prime minister in a political transition ceremony with Truss on Monday or Tuesday.
Sunak was treasury secretary from 2020 until July of this year, when he resigned in protest against Johnson’s leadership.