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Race for new British PM as Johnson quits: Liz Truss to face Rishi Sunak

After a close contest by 11 candidates, Liz Truss will now face Rishi Sunak head on in the final race for the British Prime Minister's office at the membership ballot next month.

LONDON, July 20: The semi-finals of the candidates vying for the British Prime Minister's job after Boris Johnson's career came to an ignominious end, are over. Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will face off at the grassroots hustings for the decisive membership ballot next month. The fifth round of voting by the Conservative party MPs on Wednesday eliminated the third and last placed contestant, Minister for Trade Penny Mordaunt (105 votes). Rishi Sunak got 137 votes and Liz Truss 113.

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (42) who topped in all the five rounds is less popular among the party members although Foreign Minister Liz Truss is no better. There are about 1,60,000 Conservative party members across the country where the party will organise the voting next month. After counting by month-end, the results will be announced on September 5. The winner of the two will occupy 10 Downing Street.

After the former Minister of State for Equalities Kemi Badenoch (42) was eliminated in the fourth round of voting by the majority Conservative party's MPs on Tuesday, three contenders were left in the race. Rishi Sunak with 118 votes, just three votes more than what he got in the previous round and narrowly falling short of the golden line of 120 that insulates one's position for the membership ballot, Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt, also a centrist, with 92 votes, 10 more than in the third round, and centre-right Liz Truss following with 86 votes, 15 more than the previous round.

Although the campaign was plagued by snipes, some targeted mud-slinging from anonymous corners like what Russia did with Hilary Clinton in the US polls and acrimonious debates, the electoral shortlisting has been a smooth affair now leading up to the final head-to-head clash.

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