Race to Downing Street: the dice are cast, the result proclaimed on Monday

Downing Street Race: The Dice Are Cast, The Result proclaimed on Monday

MISE & Agrave; DAY

The Downing Street race is over: Internal voting in Britain's Conservative Party ended on Friday, with Liz Truss the clear favorite to win against Rishi Sunak after a summer of near-power vacuum in the midst of a cost of living crisis. 

Polls and successive rallies have only confirmed the considerable lead of the 47-year-old foreign minister over the former minister of Finance for 42 years, in the Conservative Party.

After the end of the vote of the members on Friday evening, the result will be announced Monday at 12:30 p.m. (11:30 GMT). Except for a twist, Liz Truss will become the fourth British Prime Minister on Tuesday since the Brexit referendum in 2016, the third woman in this position after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.

She will succeed Boris Johnson, pushed to resignation at the beginning of July by the accumulation of scandals, and will be eagerly awaited to respond urgently to the soaring energy bills which are strangling households, schools, hospitals and businesses, leading to social conflicts as never since the Thatcher years (1979- 1990).

“It will be a very, very big surprise if she does not win,” John Curtice, a political scientist at the University of Strathclyde, told AFP, noting the minister's ability to “politically seduce Conservative adherents and articulate a clear message for them”.

At the end of a campaign summer dotted with 12 meetings with a total of nearly 20,000 voters throughout the country, Liz Truss assured Friday that she had “a bold project that will make grow the economy,” repeating his pledge to lower taxes and reduce bureaucracy.

Rishi Sunak said for his part “know what to do to overcome the difficult period” which is coming.

A seasoned politician who has been chaining ministerial positions for ten years, Liz Truss has seduced the base by promising cuts massive tax bills and taking a very tough tone against the unions. This has earned her comparisons to conservative icon Margaret Thatcher, although her rival is working to challenge her legacy by championing fiscal prudence.

Rishi Sunak, the grandson of Indian immigrants who would become the country's first non-white prime minister if he were to surprise, has struggled to shed his image as a wealthy technocrat, lecturer and traitor who precipitated the downfall of Boris Johnson by slamming the door of the government in early July.

The latter remains regretted by some of the members – more male, older and white than the average Briton – called to vote. Their exact number will not be revealed until Monday, but it is estimated to be less than 200,000, or 0.3% of the British population.

Round trip to Scotland

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson will hand in his resignation to Elizabeth II at her summer residence in Balmoral, Scotland, a first for the 96-year-old sovereign who has trouble getting around and will not make the trip to London .

His successor will follow to become the 15th head of government in the monarch's 70-year reign, before returning to London to deliver his first speech outside 10 Downing Street, form his government and face opposition leader Keir Starmer on Wednesday. for the first time in Parliament.

There will be considerable pressure to act quickly. The cost of living crisis has taken a dramatic turn, with the announcement of an 80% rise in household energy bills in October which could push inflation, already at more than 10%, up to at 22% according to the most alarmist forecasts.

From transport and postal workers to dockers and lawyers, the strikes continue to spread.

Remained vague during the campaign on his intentions, Liz Truss promised “immediate support” for households in difficulty, without announcing any concrete measures.

Boris Johnson, he was conspicuous by his absence during the summer, going on vacation in Slovenia and then in Greece. He refused to rule out a return to politics and his presence looks cumbersome. Thursday, he promised his “full support” to whoever will replace him: “And for the rest, life goes on”.