and then there were 6
The race to replace resigning U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson got a bit smaller on Wednesday, after candidates Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi were knocked out of the contest, The Associated Press reports.
The former health secretary and treasury chief, respectively, were unable to garner the necessary 30 votes from Conservative lawmakers required to stay in the running. The remaining six aspirants will now work to win over both ousted candidates' supporters. Additional rounds of voting are scheduled for Thursday and if, needed, "next week, until just two candidates remain," writes AP.
At that point, the final two candidates will compete in a runoff vote held amongst approximately 180,000 Conservative Party members nationwide, with the winner slated to be announced Sept. 5. He or she will then automatically become prime minister, as well as the leader of the Conservative Party, without a national election.
Among the candidates still in the race, Former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are likely the most high-profile, as well as the top 3 contenders, respectively, in terms of polling. Betting odds place Sunak and Mordaunt at the top of the pack.
Johnson resigned last week, in the wake of widespread party chaos triggered by months of ethics controversies, AP reports. He will stay on as prime minister until his replacement is chosen.