After 44 riotous days in office, Liz Truss resigned as the prime minister of Britain on October 20th. This led to a hurried attempt to find the country’s next prime minister in just two months, resulting in the declaration of Rishi Sunak, a former hedge fund manager and Boris Johnson’s finance minister, as the Conservative Party’s new leader on October 24th. He was the only member of parliament who gained the 100 nominations required to qualify, which means his win came without any ballot being cast in a “democratic state.”
Sunak is a 42-year-old practicing Hindu of Indian descent, the first person of color to hold the highest office in Britain. His win came on Monday, coinciding with the Diwali Festival, a great cause for jubilation for many Brits of Southern Asian heritage.
He will meet with the king on Tuesday morning at Buckingham Palace, where he will be asked to form the government. He is expected to confront some of the toughest economic conditions this generation has seen, most of which he had an active role in creating. He promises no transformational program. His focus is simply salvaging Britain’s fiscal credibility, ensuring inflation is suppressed, and ending a cycle of crises that has greatly eaten up the Conservative Party.
Sunak is the fifth leader of the party since the 2016 Brexit referendum. He had a role in bringing down Boris Johnson when he resigned from the cabinet in July when the scandal surrounding Boris was too much. Liz Truss beat him in the summer campaigns for leadership, in which he emerged fourth.
People expect his rise to power to play a significant role in a country that cannot escape its ugly colonialist legacy. The British ruled India from 1858 to 1947, almost a full century. Currently, the UK has children and grandchildren of immigrants from that realm. Even though most residents of Little India are supporters of the Labor Party, some still celebrate his victory. Much leaves to be seen of this super-rich new leader’s impact on the lives of the struggling masses.