UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Calls General Election for July 4

Wed May 22 2024
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LONDON: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday set a general election date for July 4, 2024, ending months of speculation but not the doom-laden forecasts regarding the size of the government’s expected defeat.

Sunak, 44, is set to face the public for the first time as Prime Minister, having been appointed leader of the Conservative Party by its MPs in October 2022. The upcoming election, the third since the Brexit referendum in 2016, presents Sunak with an opportunity to secure his mandate while capitalizing on improved economic indicators to alleviate concerns over rising living costs.

Central to Sunak’s agenda has been his commitment to halving inflation within a year from its historic highs of over 11 percent in 2022. Recent data showing a slowdown in inflation to a near three-year low at 2.3 percent has been touted by Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt as evidence that the government’s economic plan is bearing fruit.

In a statement delivered during driving rain outside Downing Street, Sunak confirmed that he had sought and received approval from King Charles III for the dissolution of parliament, paving the way for the general election. “Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future,” Sunak declared, setting the stage for a high-stakes electoral battle.

The decision to call for an election has been met with anticipation and apprehension from political observers. While some speculate that Sunak aims to leverage the positive economic outlook for a pre-election boost, others remain skeptical, attributing the economic improvements more to global trends than government policies.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer, whose Labour Party is seen as a frontrunner in the upcoming election, characterized the vote as an opportunity to “turn the page” on what he described as 14 years of Tory “chaos.” With Labour consistently leading in the polls for almost two years, the electoral landscape presents a formidable challenge for Sunak and the Conservative Party.

Economic issues, including the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit, are expected to feature prominently in the election campaign. Sunak faces the daunting task of convincing voters that the Tories remain capable stewards of the country’s finances after more than a decade in power.

Meanwhile, immigration policy, a contentious issue since Brexit, adds another layer of complexity to the electoral landscape. Despite Sunak’s tough rhetoric on border control, challenges persist, including the controversial scheme to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

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