Britain is getting a new prime minister — again.
Rishi Sunak on Monday was set to become the third person in just two months to lead the United Kingdom after winning his bid for leader of the fractious ruling Conservative Party.
The 42-year-old son of South Asian immigrants will be the first person of color, the first Hindu and the youngest premier in two centuries.
Sunak replaces Liz Truss, who quit just 45 days into her tenure last week after her economic proposals threw the nation’s markets into crisis.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson, who quit the post amid scandal over the summer, ended an unlikely comeback bid Sunday after briefly lobbying Conservative lawmakers for support throughout the weekend.
Sunak was cleared to become prime minister after another rival, ex-Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt, withdrew Monday from the race for support from the party’s sitting lawmakers.
Sunak will officially be asked to form the next government by King Charles III, a formality that was expected to come either later Monday or Tuesday at the latest.
Sunak was previously the U.K.’s chief secretary to the treasury from 2019-20 and its chancellor of the exchequer from 2020 until earlier this year.
“There will be integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level of the government I lead and I will work day in and day out to get the job done,” Sunak said Sunday.
Sunak’s victory was met with immediate calls for a new general election by opposition leaders. The Conservatives are facing record low poll approval numbers but do not need to call a new vote until 2024.
Sunak finished in second place behind Truss to replace Johnson, who resigned after skirting COVID-19 restrictions to attend government gatherings in a controversy known as “Partygate.”
Johnson, 58, claimed Sunday to have the support of 102 lawmakers, which would’ve been enough to run for prime minister, but was still considered well behind Sunak.
“In the course of the last days, I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do,” Johnson said Sunday. “Therefore I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds.”
The transfer of power from Truss to Sunak is expected to take place Monday or Tuesday. The U.K. doesn’t need to hold a national election until 2024.
With News Wire Services
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