Six Conservatives line up to be next UK prime minister

Crowded field emerges as Britain’s largest political party begins process to elect David Cameron’s successor

Six Conservatives line up to be next UK prime minister

World Bulletin / News Desk

The race to become Britain’s next prime minister was thrown wide open Thursday when a key supporter of frontrunner Boris Johnson declared his own candidacy.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove made a surprise bid for the governing Conservative Party’s leadership, saying Johnson “cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.”

Both men were leading figures in the campaign to take Britain out of the EU and Gove’s decision to run will divide Conservative lawmakers who supported the Leave vote, potentially boosting the chances of Home Secretary Theresa May, who supported a vote to remain in the EU in last week’s referendum.

Six candidates are expected to seek nomination for the party’s leadership -- and succeed David Cameron as prime minister -- by the 12 p.m. local time (1100GMT) deadline Thursday.

Johnson, a former mayor of London, had gathered support from dozens of Conservative lawmakers before the nominations opened Wednesday and was widely seen as the favorite.

Launching her own campaign Thursday, May emphasized her working class background and her six years of ministerial experience as strong credentials for the position.

“Following last week's referendum, our country needs strong leadership to steer us through this period of economic and political uncertainty and to negotiate the best possible terms as we leave the EU,” she said.

“We need leadership that can unite our party and our country.”

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom and former Defense Secretary Liam Fox -- both prominent supporters of Britain’s EU exit, or Brexit -- and Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, who supported staying in the EU, will also seek to take over from Cameron in early September.

Under Conservative election rules, the field of candidates will be reduced to two in a vote among the party’s lawmakers next week. Party members will then choose between the final two.

Last Mod: 30 Haziran 2016, 13:51
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