Liz Truss will become Britain's next prime minister after winning a leadership race for the governing Conservative Party on Monday, vowing to press ahead with promised tax cuts and action to tackle the deepening energy and cost of living crisis.
After weeks of an often bad-tempered and divisive leadership contest, Truss, currently the foreign minister and the favorite to win, beat former finance minister Rishi Sunak in a vote of Conservative Party members, winning by 81,326 votes to 60,399.
her winning margin was much narrower than had been expected and the narrowest in any Conservative leadership election held this century. Truss also won with the support of less than 50% of members
"I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy," Truss said after the result was announced. "I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people's energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply."
Truss takes over as the country faces a crunch on household finances, industrial unrest, a recession and war in Europe, where Britain has been a leading backer of Ukraine. She appeared to rule out another national election before 2024 when she promised to deliver a great victory for her party.
But in a sign of deep divisions in her party, her winning margin was much narrower than had been expected and the narrowest in any Conservative leadership election held this century. Truss also won with the support of less than 50% of members, as almost one in five did not vote.
"It's right we now unite behind the new PM, Liz Truss, as she steers the country through difficult times," Sunak said on Twitter.
Truss will succeed Boris Johnson, who was forced to announce his resignation in July after months of scandals saw support for his administration drain away and ministers quit to force him out.
Johnson will travel to Scotland to meet Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday to officially tender his resignation. Truss will follow him and be asked to form a government by the monarch.
"I know she has the right plan to tackle the cost of living crisis, unite our party and continue the great work of uniting and leveling up our country," Johnson said on Twitter. "Now is the time for all Conservatives to get behind her 100 percent."
Long the front-runner to replace him, Truss will become the Conservatives' fourth prime minister since a 2015 election. Since then Britain has stumbled from crisis to crisis and now is seen facing a long recession and inflation that hit double digits in July.
Within minutes of her victory, business leaders from the hospitality sector to manufacturing and chemical industries demanded help with the soaring cost of energy and tight labor markets to stop firms from going bust.
Truss, 47, has promised to act quickly, saying within a week she will come up with a plan to tackle rising energy bills and secure future fuel supplies.
She signaled during her leadership campaign she would challenge convention by scrapping tax increases and cutting other levies in a move some economists say would further fuel inflation.
That, and a pledge to review the remit of the Bank of England while protecting its independence, has prompted some investors to dump the pound and government bonds.
Truss and Cyprus, Greece, Turkey
With regards to Cyprus, the picture that has emerged is that Liz Truss has left the job to the Foreign Office technocrats and the Secretary of State for Europe of the day. However, during the election campaign of the last two months, she emphasized in a letter to the Conservative Friends of Cyprus her commitment to a solution within the UN-recognised framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation. She acknowledged Cyprus' role as a "pillar of stability" in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the valuable role played by the large Cypriot community in the United Kingdom.
She and her former Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias had a fairly good relationship and together they signed the Strategic Bilateral Framework last October, which covers all possible areas of cooperation between the two countries.
As for Turkey, more than other British politicians, she knows the importance of the country as the UK's partner in trade and security. As International Trade Secretary she had concluded the first free trade agreement with Turkey since Brexit was formalized. And recently, as Foreign Secretary, she visited Ankara to discuss the steps that eventually led to the agreement to export grain from Ukraine.
It is also worth noting that one of her most ardent supporters and among her advisers is the former Tory leader Ian Duncan Smith, who, particularly in recent years, has spared no shortage of public support for pro-Turkish positions even on the Cyprus issue, responding to the wishes of the strong Turkish element in the party organization of the constituency where he is elected, north of London.
Source: Reuters and Kathimerini.gr newsroom