The announcement that Liz Truss was named as Britain’s next prime minister ended a prolonged, occasionally bitter leadership contest at a time when the country faces economic, political and social crises. Many Britons worry that their country is adrift, with neither of the two candidates able to provide adequate remedies for the multiple threats.
Boris Johnson, plagued by incessant scandals, has handed the reins over to Truss after a bitter campaign fought between the two top contenders: Conservative Liz Truss, Foreign minister under Johnson, and Rishi Sunak, a former chancellor of the Exchequer.
Rampant inflation, the specter of a deep recession, labor unrest, soaring energy bills and potential fuel shortages — Truss will have to face all these and the road will not be easy. Analysts predict that the new government will likely be coming under pressure to intervene massively in the economy to protect vulnerable families from energy price shocks.
Liz Truss has become the party leader immediately upon the announcement being made, and prime minister on Tuesday, after a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at her summer retreat, Balmoral Castle, in Scotland. The new prime minister will speak at Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon, before announcing a new cabinet and getting to work.
In addition to the economy, the new leader will have to heal a Conservative Party divided after Mr. Johnson’s turbulent three years in office. Despite the string of scandals that led to his ouster, Johnson remains popular with the grass roots of the party, and some experts predict he could complicate the job of his successor by interfering and offering opinions from the sidelines. Many members regret his departure.
Truss will also have to deal with a potentially treacherous global environment. Britain is expected to continue Mr. Johnson’s policy of robust support for Ukraine and its president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Ms. Truss has been a harsh critic of Russian aggression. She would be expected to visit the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, soon after taking office. Truss faces a long, costly and difficult to-do list, which opposition lawmakers say is the result of 12 years of poor Conservative government.