June 11, 2019
LONDON: Around a dozen British Conservative members of the parliament (MPs) will formally throw their hats into the ring in the fight to replace Theresa May as party leader and Prime Minister, with her former foreign secretary Boris Johnson seen as the runaway favorite.
Nominations to succeed May—who resigned on Friday as head of the ruling Tory party following her failure to deliver Brexit—open at 10 a.m. (5 p.m. in Manila) and close at 5 p.m. (12 midnight in Manila).
Britain’s departure from the European Union, twice delayed and now set for October 31, will dominate a contest scheduled to run until late July and which, in the past, has been characterised by shocks and surprises.
The new leader of the centre-right party—which won the most seats at the last general election in 2017 — will almost certainly become prime minister, with May remaining in Downing Street in the meantime.
Unofficial campaigning already started weeks ago and Johnson has emerged as the undisputed frontrunner — although in previous leadership races the early pacesetter has never been victorious.
Current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Interior Minister Sajid Javid and Environment Secretary Michael Gove are perhaps the best-known names of 10 other MPs also in the running.
Each candidate must be nominated by at least eight Conservative MPs.
In a series of ballots over the coming weeks, party lawmakers will then whittle down the list of names to just two.
The final choice will then be made by more than 160,000 paying party members in Britain.
“The obvious big issue is Brexit—there is very little else that preoccupies the Conservative Party at the moment,” Tim Bale, politics professor at Queen Mary, University of London, told AFP.
“Boris Johnson is likely to win this election because he is offering the Conservative party members what they want… a no-deal Brexit,” he added, referring to Britain leaving the EU without a formal agreement.
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