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Who is becoming the next PM amid the political instability in Britain?

Britain is a rare country among developed nations. It has a higher number of inactive individuals compared to the time before the pandemic. One of the main reasons for this is the increase in the number of chronically ill individuals in the country over the long term. In comparison to the coalition of wealthy countries like the OECD, the United Kingdom is lagging behind in terms of labor force participation. Consequently, workers may be able to demand higher wages. But if the policy interest rate increases, the unemployment rate may also increase. According to OECD sources, the tax rate in the United Kingdom is lower compared to other European Union countries, although it is higher than that of the United States. Britain's tax rate is currently 33.5 percent. Although it could rise to 36.8 percent in 2027-28. Among other European countries, France's tax rate is 45.2 percent, Germany's is 39.5 percent.

On the other hand, the tax rate in the United States is only 26.6 percent. Among developed countries, Britain's economic situation is the worst. Starting from inflation to growth, almost all indicators lag behind the country. Due to the higher inflation rate, it is not possible for the country's central bank to consider reducing the policy interest rate now. In tackling high inflation, the Bank of England, like the Federal Reserve in the United States, has been increasing the policy interest rate for more than a year. Despite the success of the Fed in this battle, the Bank of England has not yet achieved success. In the past June, the inflation rate in the country was 7.9 percent. However, during the same period, it was 5.5 percent in the European Union and 3 percent in the United States. Among developed countries, Britain is facing the most adverse challenges over the past one and a half decades.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is prolonging uncertainty in the international market, regardless of whether the COVID-19 pandemic ends. As two major food exporters, Russia and Ukraine's involvement in the conflict has disrupted supply chains, leading to significant obstacles. The prices of various staple goods have increased, contributing to global inflation. Moreover, compared to inflation, wage growth has slowed down in many countries, leading to a decrease in purchasing power for the populace. Additionally, there's pressure from rising unemployment rates. In addition, their currency exchange rates have deteriorated against the US dollar, while foreign currency reserves have significantly decreased. Consequently, many countries are struggling to manage imports and expenditures. The global economy is now in a precarious situation due to the reluctance to take on foreign debt, leading to economic turmoil in many countries. In their efforts to control the situation, governments may make some mistakes that could bring crisis instead of stability to their economies. Central banks in various countries, by imposing strict policies to control the situation, may also make mistakes that could exacerbate the crisis. It is amidst such circumstances that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has somewhat surprised everyone by announcing the election date for May 22.

The general election in the United Kingdom is scheduled for July 4th. This time's election will also be held as usual. However, considering the timing, July is not conducive for people in Scotland and Northern Ireland to vote because schools are closed then. Many take advantages of this time to travel around. Prime Minister Rishi has called for elections at such a time when polls suggest that his Conservative Party is lagging behind the opposition Labour Party by nearly 20 points.

The question then arises, why did Rishi Sunak announce the election now? Ideally, he should have made the announcement today or tomorrow earlier this year. However, the main reason behind this announcement could be the decrease in inflation in the UK. As a result, the prices of electricity, fuel, and food items have decreased. Another claim of Rishi Sunak is that the UK's economy is performing the best among the G7 countries. Although there is no significant role of the current government behind this claim. Many significant changes have indeed occurred in the market according to its natural rules. However, Rishi is gearing up to introduce some more significant changes to play his hand in the upcoming election. However, the Labor Party claims that the economy is at a standstill. There seems to be no prospect of major changes ahead. Moreover, there is no possibility of the government achieving any significant success in combating illegal immigration. So, is there any chance of Rishi Sunak being elected as Prime Minister? Looking at the situation, it seems, no, there isn't. It's worth mentioning that Rishi has not been elected Prime Minister by the votes of the general public in Britain. He rose to power as the leader of his party through the votes of party members. His party has been in power for almost 14 years, with Rishi at the helm of affairs for nearly eight years now. Apart from the initial few years, there seems to be no end in sight to the internal turmoil within Rishi Sunak's party over the past eight years.

During Boris Johnson's tenure as Prime Minister, there were threats directed towards Rishi. It was during this time that various news regarding Rishi and his wife's taxes and property-related matters surfaced in the media. It was assumed that Boris was behind these leaks. Later, in one aspect of fulfilling his responsibilities as Chancellor, Rishi distanced himself from Boris and eventually resigned. Consequently, Boris had to step down from power. Like Rishi, Boris had also taken similar actions with Theresa May, who was pressured to relinquish power on the Brexit issue. Despite gaining popularity on the Brexit issue, Boris Johnson did not want to become Prime Minister at that time because he knew the state of his party very well. He wanted to be elected Prime Minister by the votes of the general public. Boris is no longer in power, but his influence within the party still persists. Many have accused Rishi of backstabbing Boris, suggesting that he has stabbed Boris in the back. His party is divided into several factions. Quite a few heavyweight Members of Parliament are openly expressing no-confidence in him. There are preparations underway within the party to take over responsibilities covertly.

What's interesting is that most party members are eager to put pressure on Rishi and hold him accountable for potential failures. So, despite lagging behind in polls, a majority of parliamentary members are interested in contesting elections under Sunak's leadership. Lose in simple terms. Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor in charge of the economy, has said that he wants to keep Rishi in power, even though he's fighting tooth and nail. But it doesn't seem likely that just sheer determination will get the job done. Even if he puts all his effort into it, it's doubtful if it will make a significant difference in preventing a loss. Actually, over the past eight years, internal discord has weakened the Conservative Party to the extent that the British public is somewhat frustrated with them. Even world leaders feel the same. Former German Chancellor once said that Brexit wasn't what the British democracy desired. Brexit has shattered the high ambitions of the volatile political party. Because, at the time of Brexit confrontation, neither the government nor the Conservative Party were adequately prepared. In comparison to the opposition leader Keir Starmer, how does Sunak fare? In short, not well.

So how about Kieran Starmer? The answer can be said, good. While he may not be very popular personally, as a leader of the Labour Party and the main opposition, he is ahead in the race to become the next Prime Minister. Starmer is not extremely popular among traditional Labour voters because he is a centrist, somewhat like Tony Blair.

His political maneuvering is being compared to a valuable Chinese chess set crafted during the Dynasty. Analysts suggest that Starmer is handling the situation delicately, as if he's carrying a precious chess piece, ensuring it doesn't slip away. Ever since seizing leadership responsibilities from Jeremy Corbyn, Starmer has been making the necessary moves towards potentially becoming Prime Minister. In regards to Palestine or migration, he hasn't taken any stance contrary to the mainstream. He has consistently tried to stay politically correct all this time. Under Corbyn's leadership, the political manifesto has undergone significant changes. His party has also achieved unprecedented success in local government elections. However, the political maneuvering for leadership hasn't been much of an advantage for Keir Starmer personally. The survey shows that in 2014, 27 percent of British adults believed that the Labour Party kept its promises. In April 2024, this rate decreased to 17 percent. During the same year, 52 percent of British adults believed that the United Kingdom was facing what kind of problems, the Labour Party might understand. In April 2024, the survey indicates that this rate has decreased to 39 percent. Additionally, during the same year, 31 percent of British adults believed that under the leadership of the Labour Party, a good job was being done.

However, in April of the current year, this rate has decreased to 24 percent. In 2014, 41% of British adults believed that the Labour Party was capable of governing. But in the April survey of the current year, this rate has decreased to 31 percent. Ben Page, the chief executive of the managing institution Ipsos, stated that Keir Starmer's personal popularity is very low. He has never seen such low numbers for a leader of the opposition party before. According to him, most of the people do not really like the rulers. It's not that they're interested in what the Labour Party would do if they came to power. Instead, the situation seems to be that the British people want the Labour Party in power, but they lack confidence in its leadership.

Or the people who have seen 5 Prime Ministers in the last eight years cannot fully trust any political leader? To be honest, as complex as the question is, the answer might be even more intricate. The outcome from the July 4th election won't necessarily be the final verdict. The opportunity to consider it as such isn't available right now. The Prime Ministerial aspirations, if not aligned with public favor, can morph into a mere speculation at any given time. Winning the election isn't the endgame here. Whatever the outcome, time will reveal the direction Britain's economy and politics will take, and who the next Prime Minister might be.

Author: Researcher and Columnist

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