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Tory Leadership Contest: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are finalists



And then there were two more.

Conservative MPs in the UK ended the vote and selected the two finalists to replace outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. [19659003] Boris Johnson, the former foreign minister, reaffirmed his top status on Thursday and took first place after the fifth and final round of the Conservative MPs.

Johnson won handsomely with 162 votes in the finals. Second was Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt with only 77 votes.

Michael Gove, the Minister of the Environment and one who ruined Johnson's chances of becoming Prime Minister in 201

6, was eliminated. It was very close; Gove got 75 votes.

But, except for a startling surprise, Johnson is about to finally become Prime Minister. Hunt will have four weeks to turn to the broader conservative party. But Johnson's biggest obstacle was to win over his colleagues, and he did that easily. He's probably even more popular with the rest of the party outside Parliament.

Whether Johnson or Hunt win, both face the daunting task of completing Britain's planned separation from the European Union on 31 October.

This leadership competition is expected to continue for the next four weeks. In the second half of July, a new prime minister will take office.

A Short Guide to the Conservative Leadership Contest

Prime Minister Theresa May officially resigned as Conservative Party leader on 7 June and soon started the contest. May remains prime minister until the next leader is elected.

The next Prime Minister will also come from the Conservatives (or Tories, as they are also called). This is because the composition of the parliament does not change and the conservatives retain control of the government. The next parliamentary elections are not scheduled until 2022, so presumably anyone who takes power in May will probably remain in power until then. (Earlier elections, of course, can not be ruled out, but they are currently not an option.)

This also means that the Conservatives – in particular the Conservative MPs and Party members – will elect the next prime minister.

Conservative MPs voted in secret ballots that started last week and lasted five rounds. In all, 10 candidates vied for the next Chairman of the Conservative Party and the future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Three were eliminated in the first round and one dropped out shortly afterwards. Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab was ousted in the second round. International Development Minister Rory Stewart lost in the third round. Interior Minister Sajid Javid was beaten in the fourth. Gove was the last one to leave.

Now Johnson and Hunt will bring their campaigns to the rest of the Conservative Party. There will be 16 Hustings – basically election campaign speeches that hold the candidates to the members of the Conservative Party – and two televised debates. Then the approximately 160,000 official members of the Conservative Party send their votes by mail. The winner is expected to be announced in the week of July 22, and whoever wins will be the next conservative leader and prime minister.

Johnson and Hunt fight to take over the Brexit chaos.

Brexit is by far the biggest challenge for the next prime minister. It is currently scheduled for October 31, 2019 – just months after the next leader took the lead.

Conservatives are also under pressure from the emerging Brexit party, which dominated the European Parliament elections on Britain's exit from the EU. The Conservatives have understood the success of the Brexit party as a warning that Brexit, if unable to enforce it under a new leader, could fail the party as a whole.

But the next prime minister, whether Johnson or Hunt, will inherit the same Brexit stalemate that eventually ended the premiership in May.

The May Brexit deal failed three times in parliament. But at the moment it is the only offer, and the EU has insisted that it will not renegotiate the agreement, no matter who the next prime minister is .

That had not stopped Johnson and Hunt Johnson said that they would be able to persuade the EU to return to the negotiating table, even though the EU claimed the opposite, if it could not win concessions from the EU. He has presented the threat as part of his negotiating strategy, but it is not clear whether the EU will move. A Brexit without agreement is bad for the EU and an option that it wants to avoid, but for the UK it will be far worse. (It should be noted that Parliament does not advocate Brexit without agreement, which could complicate matters.)

Hunt, who supported Remain in the 2016 elections, argued less for a Brexit without agreement. He said in June he would pursue one with a "heavy heart", but only as the last resort option.

Hunt poses as an "adult in space" compared to Johnson, who is prone to gawk and A's reputation for mendacity. And while Johnson is a polarizing personality in the general public, he has a lot of support among the conservative members that is increasingly advocating for Brexit.

However, Hunt can convince more business-minded Tories that he's the stronger guy – the guy less willing to risk the potentially catastrophic consequences of no-deal exit. But as a former Remainer, many Brexit enthusiasts do not trust him and see him as a potential Theresa May 2.0.

Johnson remains the clear favorite to become prime minister in July. Then comes the future of the UK.


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