Rishi Sunak, British Conservative Prime Minister of the Year 2022

Rishi Sunak, in London, October 24, 2022.

The suspense was limited since Boris Johnson withdrew from the race even before officially declaring himself a candidate: it was Rishi Sunak, his ex-chancellor of the exchequer, a former ally who had become the worst adversary, who was designated leader of the British Conservative Party, Monday, October 24. The Tories still having a substantial majority in the House of Commons, Mr. Sunak, 42, will become the third Conservative Prime Minister of the year 2022, when King Charles III will have entrusted him with the task of forming a new government, Tuesday, October 25 in the morning.

What an incredible “comeback” that of this dashing deputy, hair and suit always impeccable. At the beginning of September, he left the race to succeed Boris Johnson, beaten soundly by his competitor Liz Truss, whose promises of massive tax cuts appealed more to members of the Tory party. His relatives speculated on his future, some thought he would drop politics to become a banker again. Seven weeks later, the “loser” will return to Downing Street through the front door, after all his predictions have proved correct: Liz Truss’ “mini-budget” has caused the pound sterling to sway, flee international investors and raise interest rates alarmingly.

Read also: Resignation of Liz Truss in the United Kingdom: Brexit, “elephant in the room”

The advent of this brilliant elected official, who entered politics seven years ago, is an important moment for all the ethnic minorities in the country: he is the first national leader of color in the United Kingdom. Its designation constitutes a consecration for the “British Indians”, the British of Indian origin, the largest minority in the country (with approximately 1.5 million people), rather well integrated. It intervenes – chance of the calendar –, in full celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights, one of the most important celebrations of the Hindu and Sikh religious calendar. Mr. Sunak is proof that in a society still plagued by divisions but increasingly tolerant, skin color no longer prevents access to the highest social or political functions.

Significant personal wealth

“It simply wouldn’t have been possible ten or twenty years ago and proves that whatever your faith or ethnicity, you can claim the highest positions in public life. It is a source of pride for many Asian Britons, whether or not they share Mr Sunak’s conservative views,” welcomed Sunder Katwala, the boss of the think tank British Future, a specialist listened to questions of identity. But unlike Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, or Sajid Javid, another ex-chancellor of the exchequer of Mr. Johnson, both sons of bus drivers of Pakistani origin, Rishi Sunak is not from a modest background, but from a middle-class, rather conservative family – which sends its children to the private institutions of the British elite.

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