New Delhi: Rishi Sunak, former chancellor of the UK, won the most votes in the first round of voting to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and UK Prime Minister. Rishi Sunak scored 88 votes, ahead of Penny Mordaunt (67 votes) and Truss Liz (50 votes), reports Reuters. Finance minister Nadhim Zahawi and former cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt were eliminated.
Also in the race is another Indian-origin member of Parliament – Attorney General Suella Braverman.
Under the election schedule, Boris Johnson’s successor as Conservative leader is meant to be announced on September 5, as the party seeks to rebuild its popular support after he was felled by non-stop scandal.
Since declaring his intention to run for party leadership last week, Rishi Sunak has maintained a steady lead among his party’s parliamentary colleagues. But the Conservative Party membership base which will have the final say seems to be building momentum behind Penny Mordaunt.
At this early stage of the contest, the race seems to be narrowing down into a three-way Sunak, Mordaunt and Liz Truss clash, but the field is still seen as wide open.
The next round of voting by the 358 Conservative members of Parliament to pick their favourites left on the ballot paper is scheduled for Thursday, when the field of candidates will be narrowed down even further to a shorter list of finalists.