LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss scored even more points this Monday to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson, garnering strong support within the Conservative Party, whose members begin voting this week to elect their new leader.
Truss launched her campaign with a proposal for massive tax cuts that is gaining more and more supporters. She is up against Rishi Sunak, former Minister of Finance.
The members of the party that have been in power for 12 years, whose exact number is confidential, but which is estimated at around 200,000 (equivalent to 0.3% of the population), have until September 2 to vote by mail.
Before the end of the week, party adherents should receive their ballots.
After a start to the campaign with a bunch of candidates and five votes restricted to representatives in Parliament, largely made up of older white men choosing the two finalists, the suspense seems to have dissipated.
But Sunak, who came out on top in MPs' internal votes for his lauded handling of the pandemic, is less popular in the party ranks where Truss hopes to gain ground.
Ahead of the vote, Truss received major endorsements from former Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis, failed party leader candidate Tom Tugendhat and the most important accolade from Defense Minister Ben Wallace, who is highly respected. within the party.
This Monday Truss also obtained the support of the current Finance Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, and former candidate Penny Mordaunt, who finished third in the race to lead the Conservative Party.
"The race is very close and we are fighting for every vote," Truss said despite everything this weekend.
The minister seemed a little stiff and awkward in some debates in the early stages of the competition, but now she seems more relaxed and self-confident, a setback for Sunak who was counting on his oratorical skills to gain ground.
Truss came out stronger Thursday in the first of a series of 12 matches against grassroots militants.
In Exeter, in the south-west of the UK, she said she planned to be inspired by the "spirit of the Lionesses", a reference to the England team, who won the Women's European Championship on Sunday.
Stab in the back
Rishi Sunak is hated by Johnson's supporters. One affiliate accused him of having "stabbed the prime minister in the back," as his resignation helped precipitate a spate of resignations from the government that left Johnson with no choice but to announce he was stepping down after months of scandal over the Leaks of parties held in Downing Street during confinement.
Since the beginning of this internal campaign, during which the environment has hardly been mentioned, the finalists have opposed taxes.
On the one hand, Truss promises a tax cut "from day one", announcing that she will cancel the increase in social contributions imposed this year to finance the national health system that was cracked by the pandemic.
Sunak criticizes the "fairy tales" of his rival and warned that it is better to wait for inflation - which reaches a maximum in 40 years - to subside before lowering the fiscal pressure.