In exactly one week, the British will hear who their new prime minister will be. Then the result of the Conservative Party leadership election is announced, and the winner is entitled to succeed Boris Johnson.
The fight is between Liz Truss, the Secretary of State, and Rishi Sunak, the Finance Minister. According to polls, Truss has the best chance. Behind the scenes, her team was said to be working on her victory speech.
The leadership struggle between Truss and Snack appears to be hurting their party as it accumulates moments when conservatives openly attack each other.
But whoever it is, Johnson’s successor is sure to face plenty of tough challenges. We have listed the three most important to you.
1. Economic crisis
Since the start of the election campaign, the country’s economic outlook has gone from bad to worse. As in the rest of Europe, the British suffer from high rates of inflation. And energy prices are very high: they are up 80 per cent compared to last year.
Truss and Snack differ fundamentally in how they intend to tackle these economic problems. Trus promises instant tax cuts. “We have the highest taxes in 70 years,” she said at an election debate in Norwich. “This is not how we achieve economic growth and fight recession.”
Sunak warns of tax cuts. He thinks that will fuel inflation. “You can’t take tax cuts and borrow a lot of money and think the economy will be fine at the same time,” he said in response to Truss’ comments.
2. Unpopularity of the Conservative Party
In the current election campaign, Truss and Snack are trying to win the hearts of Conservative Party members. After all, elections are about the leadership of that party. But the conservatives’ popularity has waned since December last year. And in some opinion polls, the party has scored nearly 15 percentage points worse than the main opposition Labor Party.
“The leadership struggle between Truss and Snack is hurting their party as Tories openly attack each other week after week during the campaign,” said Tony Travers, a professor at the London School of Economics.
“Meanwhile, voters feel that the government has been out of control for months while a major international crisis is brewing in Ukraine, leading to soaring energy prices, as well as health care problems and strikes elsewhere in the country. And that could be happening in the background. It seems as though This government is only concerned with itself.”
It is up to Johnson’s successor to change that.
3. Boris Johnson’s Shadow
Then there is Boris Johnson. Although he is not a candidate to succeed himself, he has not yet been forgotten. On the contrary: polls show that half of the Conservative Party now regret showing charismatic Johnson at the door.
“According to polls, Johnson is much more popular than Truss or Sunak,” Travers says. “Some British media are speculating that Boris Johnson would like to return. But it will be a huge challenge for the successor in the first year to overcome this shadow.”
One thing is clear: anyone who will soon deliver a victory speech at 10 Downing Street will have a difficult task ahead.
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